Brand new Naches Trail Elementary to open in fall of 2023

Bond Projects Update: March 2021

Bethel Schools
4 min readMar 30, 2021

We’re excited to announce that Naches Trail Elementary students will have a brand new school in the fall of 2023.

After crunching the numbers and going over all of their options, the district’s planning and construction teams have come to the conclusion that it will be safer, more cost effective, and more practical to build a brand new Naches Trail.

The project, which is part of the voter-approved 2019 School Construction Bond, was originally slated to be a complete remodel and expansion, but a cost analysis determined it would be more expensive to modernize the current Naches Trail than it would be to build a new school.

A similar determination was made during the planning stages of the Thompson, Spanaway, and Clover Creek elementary remodels. Those schools where originally scheduled to be expanded and remodeled as part of our 2006 bond, but all were rebuilt entirely for similar reasons.

Originally built in 1979, Naches Trail is one of our oldest elementaries. The school received some facility improvements in 1997, but the student population has outgrown the building and 14 portable classrooms that are now being used on campus.

By building a completely new school on adjacent property the district already owns, Naches Trail students won’t have to be relocated during the construction, which saves money, makes the build quicker, and is safer for students and teachers.

The new Naches Trail will use a similar design to the new Katherine G. Johnson Elementary, which is being built now and will open for students this fall.

Katherine G. Johnson Elementary

Spring is in the air, and our hard-working construction team is getting ever closer to finishing our newest school, Katherine G. Johnson Elementary.

Anyone who’s driven by the site, located on Waller Road between Military and 176th, has undoubtedly seen the progress we’ve made this year. In addition to adding roofing and wall insulation to the school’s administration building, crews began painting the A and B wings this month.

Earlier this month they started pouring concrete and began roofing the play shed, and by the end of March they will start installing plumbing and HVAC in the G wing. Next month they hope to begin painting the school’s exterior.

When it opens this fall, Katherine G. Johnson Elementary will comfortably house 700 students, with space for enough portables to house another 200 students on site.

New Bethel High School

Artist rendering of the new Bethel high School

Last month we told you that updates to a Pierce County Stormwater Manual will delay the opening date for the new Bethel High School until 2024 or 2025.

While everyone is disappointed the school won’t be ready by the fall of 2023, that doesn’t mean work on the project has stopped.

Earlier this month the School Board approved a plan to build a memorial in honor of Casey Crate on the New Bethel High School property. During a recent board meeting, a representative from Weisman Design and NAC Architecture presented plans for a plaza that would memorialize Crate and all other graduates of Bethel School District who lost their lives in combat activities in defense of the United States of America.

Artist design for a Case Crate Memorial Plaza at the new Bethel High School.

District leaders have also been working with the BHS design team to incorporate an array of safety features into the building. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Like all of our schools, visitors will have to show ID and buzz in from the exterior of the building. Once they enter, vestibules will ensure visitors must enter through the office.
  • The District will have extensive camera coverage around the entire building and parking areas.
  • Lockdown buttons will be able to instantaneously lock down all exterior doors.



Bethel Schools

Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.