The Central Valley School District has begun planning for three new projects in 2018, one of which is the long-awaited construction of a third high school.
Marla Nunberg Genther, director of communications for the district, says the school board voted last month to include construction of a third comprehensive high school, a new middle school, and the renovation and expansion of Horizon Middle School on a $129.9 million bond measure that’s expected to go before voters that year.
“All three projects are being considered as necessary to meet the needs of projected secondary school enrollment in the coming years,” she says.
Nunberg Genther says voters essentially would be asked to pass a measure that would keep the tax rate the same as it is now, extending further into the future the date when the debt would be paid off.
“This bond would replace an existing bond that is expiring in 2018, essentially extending the timeframe with this new bond,” she says.
District Superintendent Ben Small says while many people foresaw the eventual need for a third comprehensive high school 10 years ago, the timing for construction wasn’t right until recently.
“Now, we’ve been growing at a steady rate the past five years, and as we’ve begun to take care of capacity issues at our elementary schools, it’s time to move forward with plans for more capacity at the secondary levels,” he says. “Our plan is to be able to open the high school by 2021, and for that to happen, we need to have this bond before the voters in 2018.”
According to Nunberg Genther, the proposed new high school is planned for a property located at 16th Avenue and Henry Road in the Saltese Flats area that the district had purchased for that purpose back in 1980.
“While the district has begun studying and consulting architects on possible designs to fit the site, an official design plan is still to be determined,” she says.
The second project being considered is a new middle school, which would be located at Telido Station in Liberty Lake, just north of the freeway off Mission Avenue.
Nunberg Genther says the school’s design would be a reconfiguration of the floor plan at North Pines Middle School. The new middle school would be built for 450 students, with the ability to expand to 600.
The third big project being eyed would involve the expansion and reconfiguration of Horizon Middle School, at 3915 S. Pines Road.
Nunberg Genther says the school, building in 1982, is in need of an upgrade to bring its classrooms to current standards and to make better use of its interior spaces.
She says the renovations plans also include the addition of a new gymnasium adjacent to the current school building.
Meanwhile, the district continues with a busy schedule this year as it moves to complete several school renovations, expansions, and new construction projects.
The district recently completed renovation and expansion projects at Mica Peak High School and Central Valley Early Learning Center at 15111 E. Sprague.
Similar projects at Chester Elementary School, at 3525 S Pines Road, and Opportunity Elementary School, at 1109 S. Wilbur Road, are expected to wrap up this spring and in December, respectively.
Additionally, the district plans for construction of the new Liberty Creek Elementary School, at 23909 E. Country Vista Drive, to be completed next fall, along with renovation and expansion projects at Evergreen Middle School, located at 14221 E. 16th, and Greenacres Elementary, at 17915 E. 4th.
Nunberg Genther says construction of the district’s $19.9 million Ponderosa Elementary School project at 10105 E. Cimmaron Drive is also close to getting underway.
The Ponderosa project originally was planned as an $18.5 million renovation and expansion to be constructed starting in the fall of 2017 as the final major project to be funded through a $121.9 million bond measure that district voters approved in 2015.
However, renovations to the building were determined to be more expensive than originally anticipated.
“We estimated $20.9 million is what would actually be needed for the renovation construction in the summer of 2017,” says Nunberg Genther. “By doing a new building in lieu of the existing building and moving start of design to the fall of 2016, the cost estimate was $19.9 million, a $1.4 million savings.”
She says the planned new school’s design is based on that of Liberty Creek Elementary, and its first phase of construction, which included creating temporary parking and student drop-off locations, was completed before the start of this school year. The second phase, which included ground preparation prior to construction, was completed early this month.
In December, the $13.7 million third and fourth phases of the project, which include the building’s construction, were awarded to T.W. Clark Construction LLC, of Spokane.
“We’re not certain when construction will begin, but the project is expected to be completed by March of 2018,” says Nunberg Genther.
She says the new school will be located just east of the current structure.
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