Boundary change shifts 175 students from Grand Ridge to Clark

December 4, 2012

When the first day of school comes next fall, 175 students who had gone to Grand Ridge Elementary School will say “hello” to Clark Elementary School.

The move was announced Nov. 19 as part of a boundary shift that will help alleviate overcrowding at Grand Ridge. Additionally, all kindergartners will go to Challenger and Endeavour elementary schools.

Located in the continually expanding Issaquah Highlands, Grand Ridge has the capacity for about 600 students, according to Jake Kuper, CFO for the Issaquah School District. With the use of portable classrooms, the capacity jumps to 800.

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Boundary decision shifts 175 students from Grand Ridge to Clark

November 29, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 29, 2012

When the first day of school comes next fall, 175 students will bid farewell to Grand Ridge Elementary School and say hello to Clark Elementary School.

The move was announced Nov. 19 as part of a boundary shift that will help alleviate crowding at Grand Ridge. Along with the change, all Grand Ridge kindergartners will be housed next year at Challenger and Endeavour elementary schools.

Located in the continually expanding Issaquah Highlands, Grand Ridge has the capacity for about 600 students, according to Jake Kuper, chief financial officer for the Issaquah School District. With the use of portable classrooms, the capacity jumps to 800.

Right now, the school has 879 full-time students and, without the boundary shift, would have 987 full-time students next year. The changes bring that attendance number to 730 for next year.

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Grand Ridge Elementary welcomes winds of change, Puget Sound Energy turbine

October 9, 2012

Students stand near the Grand Ridge Elementary School wind turbine Oct. 2. By Lillian O’Rorke

Grand Ridge Elementary School embraced the winds that frequently blow through the playground when it teamed with Puget Sound Energy on Oct. 2 to dedicate its new wind turbine.

To welcome the new addition, students and staff were joined by members of the community, including Superintendent Steve Rasmussen, for a celebratory assembly, which was made complete by the choral talents of Grand Ridge’s fifth-graders.

The project got its start in 2009 when Steve Crawford, the district’s director of capital projects, began measuring the wind at the school’s Issaquah Highlands location and approached Puget Sound Energy. Two years later, the school got a $10,900 grant from the company’s Renewable Energy Education Program and the small-scale wind turbine was erected May 3.

At 45 feet tall and 12 feet across at the top, it can generate up to 1.8 kilowatts of energy, which is enough energy to power 30 60-watt light bulbs.

The grant also included materials and support — including science lesson training, classroom activity guides and renewable-energy kits — so that in addition to powering part of the school, the turbine will teach students about wind energy and renewable resources.

Students needed to star in ‘The Sound of Music’

September 11, 2012

Students from Clark, Sunset, Issaquah Valley and Grand Ridge elementary schools, as well as those who attend Pacific Cascade and Issaquah middle schools, are invited to audition for the upcoming production of “The Sound of Music.”

The musical, being produced by Issaquah High School, is looking to fill five Von Trapp children roles with students from feeder schools.

Auditions for younger children are scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Sept. 12 in the choir room at Issaquah High and should last one to two hours. High school student auditions will be at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 11 and could take more than three hours.

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Construction starts on long-awaited Issaquah Highlands retail center

July 3, 2012

Earth-moving equipment works at the intersection of Highlands Drive Northeast and Northeast High Street on June 26 as construction starts on Grand Ridge Plaza. By Autumn Monahan

Finally, after years of plans and promises, developers and officials gathered in the Issaquah Highlands early June 26 to launch construction on a $70 million retail center in the neighborhood — a long-awaited amenity for residents and, in recent years, a symbol for the anemic economy and rebound.

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Schools receive nearly $40,000 in donations

June 19, 2012

It’s the end of the school year but that doesn’t mean that donations to local schools have to end.

At the June 13 Issaquah School Board meeting, five donations of more than $2,500 each were approved by the board.

Among those was a $12,850 gift to Issaquah High School from its PTA. The funds will be used to purchase technology hardware and supplies for a mobile technology learning unit. The Grand Ridge PTA gave $8,655 to Grand Ridge Elementary School to purchase National Geographic subscriptions, music instruments, ebooks and gym class equipment.

The Career and Technical Education program and the Technology Education and Literacy in Schools program got a boost from the Issaquah Schools Foundation in the form of an $11,800 grant.

Math students at Cougar Ridge Elementary School will get new Excel math worksheets thanks to a $3,583 donation from the school’s PTA. Cougar Ridge’s PTA also donated $2,598 to help pay for half-day substitutes so teachers can be released for team science planning.

Developer announces July groundbreaking for long-planned Issaquah Highlands hotel

June 12, 2012

The rendering above shows a long-planned, 111-suite Residence Inn by Marriott hotel scheduled to break ground in the Issaquah Highlands next month and open to guests next year. By InnSight HMG

Construction is expected to start on a long-planned, much-anticipated hotel in the Issaquah Highlands next month, the developer announced June 5.

InnSight HMG plans to break ground on the hotel, a Residence Inn by Marriott, in mid-July. Plans call for the hotel to include 111 suites and employ more than 40 people. The developer expects the hotel to open in spring 2013.

The hotel site is located across Highlands Drive Northeast from Swedish/Issaquah. City officials expect the hospital to attract guests to the hotel, as people seek a nearby place to stay as family members undergo treatment.

The hospital opened in the neighborhood almost a year ago and started offering inpatient services in November.

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Youth advocates take top honors at Community Awards

June 5, 2012

Renee Zimmerman reacts to a standing ovation May 31 after receiving the Citizen of the Year award from Issaquah Chamber of Commerce board chairwoman Dianna Reely, during the 33rd annual Issaquah Community Awards at the Hilton Garden Inn. By Greg Farrar

As Issaquah celebrated its very best at the 33rd annual Chamber of Commerce Community Awards, two residents — celebrated for their lasting contributions to the community — were inducted into Issaquah’s Hall of Fame on May 31.

Barbara de Michele and Master Sgt. Richard “Top” DeMarco received top honors at the May 31 ceremony, which included recognition for Issaquah’s finest in 18 categories, including awards for standout volunteers, businesses leaders, organizations and youth.

Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger said the Hall of Fame awards were based on several criteria, including inspiration, leadership, civic mindedness, fundraising efforts for public good and length of service to the community.

None more so affected by the awardees are Issaquah’s youth.

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Issaquah Highlands road link opens to vehicle traffic

May 15, 2012

By Dona Mokin

Issaquah Highlands residents, long limited to a single east-west route uphill through the hillside neighborhood, celebrated the opening of another road link May 10.

The city opened a pair of connected roads — Northeast College Drive and Northeast Falls Drive — to connect motorists to the area from Grand Ridge Elementary School to a proposed retail complex downhill from the campus.

The roads supplement the existing east-west corridor, Northeast Park Drive. The project is also meant to address congestion caused by morning and afternoon drop-offs and pick-ups at Grand Ridge Elementary.

The link starts at Central Park, runs behind the school and terminates at 10th Avenue Northeast. The link — completed by developers — is meant to offer additional access to the school, residences and a planned Bellevue College campus. (Hence the name Northeast College Drive.)

Developers shouldered most of the roughly $1.75 million project cost.

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Schools, Issaquah School District win Earth Heroes at School Awards

May 8, 2012

Renee De Tolla, Ashley Hirst and Leslie Lederman (from left), of Grand Ridge Elementary School, pose with King County Executive Dow Constantine at April 26’s Earth Heroes award ceremony. By Ned Ahrens/King County Department of Transportation

The Issaquah School District’s green side was on display recently when it received several environmental honors from King County Executive Dow Constantine.

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