Past bond ushers in school renovation projects

August 23, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

In February 2006, Issaquah School District voters approved a $241.8 million bond issue to fund new construction and renovations around the district.

Maywood Middle School is being expanded and modernized. sky-pix aerial photography

The schools are following the plan laid out to voters with one exception, according to information on the district website.

In early 2007, the district acted to redirect construction dollars originally earmarked to fund construction of a new middle school, the district’s fifth. Because of changed enrollment and other factors, officials decided, rather than build a new school, they would convert the Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus into a full-blown middle school beginning in fall 2010. As a result, the Issaquah and Skyline high school campuses were revamped to include space for new freshmen.

Funded by that 2006 bond issue, here are some of the projects still under way in the district.

“The biggies are all down on the south end this year,” said Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications.

• Planners slated Maywood Middle School in Renton for a modernization and expansion project. According to the latest construction update from the district this month, Maywood’s old administration/commons area and counseling offices are gone, with construction of replacement facilities under way. Demolition of the parking lots and sidewalks are nearing completion with rebuilding scheduled to have already started. Grading of new parking areas has begun.

• Also in Renton, Briarwood Elementary School was slated for a complete replacement. A new building is to rise right next to the existing structure, Niegowski said. The Briarwood project still is in its beginning stages, though the school’s former parking lot is now part of the construction zone. A new, temporary lot for staff and parents was built on the east side of the school.

Also affecting how students will come and go from the school, the driveway in front of Briarwood was renovated and now is intended for drop off and pick up of students only.

On another front, the construction has taken over the school’s former baseball field and what was known as the “Big Toy” area. Some of the play equipment was moved and will be available to students this year. Briarwood’s new building is slated to open in fall 2012.

• Liberty High School is set to receive a $19 million addition and modernization. The schedule had new science labs built first in summer of last year. Site preparation and some demolition was to last through early this year, when construction was launched on a new performing arts center. Overall work is thought to continue through summer 2012.

• Work also continues on a modernization project at Challenger Elementary in Issaquah. The former library and staff lounge is gone with construction of the renovated facilities under way. The school’s parking lot and pick-up/drop-off area is about to be realigned.

• Issaquah High School was slated to receive a complete rebuilding at a cost of $94.9 million. Classroom and core areas were ready by fall 2010, with completion of the remaining work done by this fall.

Contractors presently are finishing up cleaning and working on final punch lists on the high school project. The school’s new performing arts center largely should be up and running in time for the start of school, though officials warn installation of a few items may have to await delivery of those items.

Outside the building, grinding and repaving was slated to begin on a widened Second Avenue the week of Aug. 15. Work is also proceeding on the school’s new athletic stadium. Turf is in place and workers are installing end zone letters and logos.

• Odds and ends: Portable classrooms are in place at Liberty, Apollo Elementary in Renton and Issaquah Valley Elementary in Issaquah. Portables also are on their way to Newcastle Elementary in Newcastle. In Issaquah, at Endeavour Elementary, workers are proceeding with replacing the roof and skylights.

Outside of schools, installation is set to begin shortly on new bus lifts for the district transportation center.

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