Rebuilding the rubric
August 20, 2013
By Neil Pierson
Major projects are designed to upgrade school district facilities
Voters in the Issaquah School District are starting to see the results of a $219 million bond measure they approved more than a year ago.
Work is well under way at most of the district’s 24 schools on a variety of projects, some to increase student capacity and some to improve aging infrastructure.
As part of the April 2012 bond measure that 70 percent of Issaquah’s voters supported, two elementary schools were chosen to receive nearly $6.6 million each for modernization efforts: Issaquah Valley, built in 1969, and Apollo, built in 1970.
With the first day of the new school year quickly approaching Sept. 4, contractors and district officials are busily trying to ready the buildings for the arrival of teachers, students and parents.
Steve Crawford, the district’s director of capital projects, said the projects at Issaquah Valley and Apollo are similar in scope and design. The district is using the same general contractor for both buildings as a way to reduce time and cost.
As a safety measure, the principal’s offices at both schools are being moved to the front of the buildings for “better visual control of what’s going on,” Crawford said. Each building will have eight additional classrooms and more small-group instructional space in time for the start of the 2014-15 school year, removing the need for portable classrooms. Issaquah Valley will have a bigger cafeteria, likely removing the need for three separate lunch times.
“It’s a lot to get done in the course of the summer so that we’re buttoned up and ready for kids to start school,” Crawford said.
Issaquah Valley Principal Diane Holt called the modernization project “absolutely necessary” and said it’ll do wonders for a school that housed about 580 students last year.
By the start of next year, fourth- and fifth-grade classes that are currently in portables will be moved into the building. A new security door in the front of the school routes visitors into a reception area or a volunteer room — no more surprise guests in the hallways or classrooms.
“Our big message is that we’re building our future, and we’re increasing the learning, the capacity and certainly the security of the school, which is a big issue,” Holt said.
Apollo Elementary is seeing the results of continued growth in the East Renton Highlands area. The school has largely run out of space for students, Crawford said, and is a prime candidate for bond money.
Last week, the school was showing signs of ongoing construction. Floors were stripped in many areas, and in the rear of the building, the space for new classrooms was largely bare. Crews plan to block those areas at Apollo and Issaquah Valley so people can pass safely during the school day.
“In large part, they’re prefabricated walls, so when it comes time to set up, they just tilt them up and a lot happens in a short period of time,” Crawford explained.
Here’s a look at the status of other Issaquah district projects:
- At Liberty High, the second part of a three-phase expansion and modernization project is finishing, Crawford said. Many classrooms were demolished over the summer, meaning students will start the new year with a total of 38 classrooms in 19 portables. Features to be completed by Sept. 4 include a new commons area, auxiliary gym, locker rooms and a science lab.
- The installation of artificial turf athletic fields has started at four middle schools — Beaver Lake, Maywood, Pacific Cascade and Pine Lake. The projects were given a $5.2 million total budget.
- Maywood Middle School was also the target of modernization and expansion. The $10.2 million project was completed in May and included $3.8 million for a new heating and air conditioning system.
- Along with the big-dollar project at Apollo, the school received an additional $695,000 to convert its grass field to sand, replace corridor carpets with rubber flooring, and install new carpeting in classrooms and offices.
- Beaver Lake Middle School has $800,000 worth of upgrades pending, including a new vestibule for the main entrance, an improved classroom clock system, rubber flooring in the commons area, and a covered play area.
- Cougar Ridge Elementary is getting a new boiler, rubber flooring in corridors and the commons, and new office and classroom carpets. The total cost is $570,000.
- At Discovery Elementary, new skylights, rubber flooring for corridors and commons, and replacing classroom and office carpets are estimated to cost $343,000.
- The district Administration Building is getting exterior single-glazed windows and an office area remodel to the tune of $440,000.
- Endeavour Elementary will have a new roof and skylights. The administrative area will be reconfigured for safety, similar to the Apollo and Issaquah Valley projects. The school will also have rubber floors in the corridors and commons, as well as new carpets in classrooms and offices. The total cost is $830,000.
- Grand Ridge Elementary, the district’s second-youngest school, and Pacific Cascade Middle, the third-youngest, each received $15,000 for a covered play area.
- Issaquah Valley Elementary received an additional $1.97 million to replace its roof and exterior windows, as well as replace corridor carpets with rubber flooring.
- At Maple Hills Elementary, $895,000 is being spent to replace the roof, remodel the main office, replace corridor carpets with rubber floors, and install new carpets for classrooms and offices.
- Pine Lake Middle School is scheduled to receive $770,000 in upgrades, which will include a renovated central courtyard and landscaping, new fume hoods in two science labs, and new wall-covering and wainscoting in corridors and classroom.
- Skyline High will have its roof repaired, its heating and air conditioning system upgraded, and occupancy sensors installed to reduce energy consumption. The total cost is $305,000.
- Sunset Elementary’s main parking lot will be resurfaced. It will also get an improved lighting, sound and projector system for its stage. The total cost is $140,000.
- To comply with federal Title IX regulations regarding gender equality, the district made $800,000 in improvements at two high-school softball fields. The fields at Issaquah High and Liberty High will both have artificial-turf infields.
First day back
The first day of school is Sept. 4. For the bell times for your school, go to your school’s website or http://bit.ly/ISDbelltimes.