Conversion of freshman campus will be in 2010

September 19, 2008

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus will remain a freshman campus until fall 2010, leaving middle schools overcrowded one extra year. Once converted, PCFC will become a middle school.

Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen announced the delay Sept. 11 citing several factors including permit, construction and site delays.

Construction projects at Issaquah and Skyline high schools need large phases to be completed before the freshman class can be accommodated. Both are nearly seven weeks behind schedule after several summer delays.

Issaquah High is undergoing a complete rebuild in three phases of construction and Skyline High is undergoing a significant remodel.

“It was not because of the city of Sammamish or the city of Issaquah,” Rasmussen said. “We have continued to press really hard on the process but the timeline was very aggressive.”

Work began at both sites in late June. However, issues plagued both sites this summer, making demolition of the existing buildings impossible to begin before school started Sept. 3.

At Issaquah High, meeting city codes for closed stairwells inside the commons areas has delayed building permits, said Steve Crawford, director of capital projects for the district.

Traffic flow on the school site and onto city streets intersecting with Second Avenue Southeast and Front Street has also been a problem.

The problems forced city and district officials to re-do traffic models and work out acceptable traffic plans, according to Sheldon Lynne, the city’s deputy director of public works engineering.

The district had been using older data from the city collected prior to changes with its Intelligent Transportation System to formulate models of how the new high school facility would impact the city’s traffic, Lynne said. City and district officials have been working with new data models.

Once both issues are resolved,  the district will seek a contractor to begin construction of three 3-story classroom wings on the southwest portion of the campus.

Permitting issues have also plagued demolition and construction work at Skyline.

The new 100-stall parking lot was supposed to be done this summer to ease congestion in September. At one point, the contractor started doing work without the proper permits and city officials ordered the work stopped.

There were also delays in setting up the portable classrooms needed to start classes.

“We’re looking now to have the commercial site development permit and building permit Sept. 24,” Crawford said. “Then we’ll really be able to get going.”

“With the decision to move conversion to 2010, some of the need to compress our schedule has been taken away and we’ll be working on schedule to make sure we get to September 2010,” Crawford said.

Several PTSA leaders from throughout the district felt the move was the best decision the district could make.

“I think it is the best decision for our kids’ education as possible, to stay in a situation that is tried and tested than that which could just be okay,” said Caroline Brown, a PTSA co-president at Beaver Lake Middle School. “It was made early, too.”

Both school construction budgets should be within the original scope, Crawford said.

Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or

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