Monday, January 25th, the LWSD School Board approved putting a $398 million bond on the April ballot. The “April 26, 2016 Bond measure will fund: 1) a remodel or replacement and enlargement (RR) of Juanita HS, 2) a RR of Kirkland El, 3) a RR of Mead El, 4) a new middle school on Redmond Ridge, 5) a new elementary school in north Redmond on 172nd, 6) refurbishment of the Old Redmond School House for preschool space, 7) a modular replacement of Explorer school. 8) Rockwell El will not be remodeled or replaced on any Bond. Pierce said the Capital Funds Levy would cover maintenance. The “ask” includes $21K from potential State construction funding and $10K from impact fees. (From <http://redmondcity.blogspot.com/> January 14, 2016)
I posed some questions I had to Kathryn Reith, Communications Director at LWSD. Kathryn has always been a great source for me and repeatedly answers my questions and provides source documents and web links when I request. I greatly appreciate her cooperation in providing information for me.
From an email dated Saturday, January 16th and answered Tuesday, January 26th (copied in total — boldface are Ms. Reith’s responses to my questions):
Here are some answers for you. There is more information now posted on the website, and more to come. Let me know if you have other questions.
Hi Kathryn! Hope you had a great weekend!
I have some questions about the new proposed bond issue for April.
Dr. Pierce said in her talk to the City Council last week that bond funds would be used for “remodel or replacement and enlargement” of several schools, refurbishment of the Old Redmond School House, and a modular replacement of Explorer school. (among other things).
What is the difference between “modernization” and “remodel or replacement and enlargement” of an existing school?
The district is taking the advice of the Long Term Facilities Task Force to do some things differently: we are using specific cost-conscious design principles and are tapping into outside experts to act as advisors on the processes of determining how to redo an aging school. We hope to have more complete information on how we would proceed with each specific project available soon on the website, including the studies that have been done to determine the best way to proceed.
Why is Rockwell not considered in the 2016 funding?
The district is following the recommendations for projects through 2029-30 from the Task Force, which did not include Rockwell. Their focus on aging schools was on the older schools where they could be built larger, adding some space in areas where an entire new school wasn’t required. There are enough students to need an entire new school in North Redmond, which would also benefit Rockwell by relieving their overcrowding.
Will the new schools being built be planned to include future growth in the boundary areas?
The new schools are part of the overall plan that is designed to address enrollment projections through 2029-30. Those projections expect continued growth. This one bond measure won’t be enough to take care of all the future growth: we will need to pass the additional bond measures in the funding plan that are proposed for 2018, 2022 and 2024, all continuing the 2015 tax rate.
Will schools under the “remodel or replacement and enlargement” classification include more classrooms or just larger building footprints?
More classrooms. The enlargement part is because the Task Force suggested focusing aging schools projects on those schools that could be built larger to accommodate more students to help with the growing enrollment. To accommodate more students, they will need more classrooms.
What will be done with all the portables the district has purchased (at millions of dollars cost) and can a portion of that cost be recouped?
For the first bond, many of the portables are close to if not past their useful life. Portables are expected to last 20-30 years. The portable inventory given to the Task Force last year showed portables at Mead Elementary between 24 and 28 years old, those at Kirk between 19 and 28 years old and those at Juanita High School between 23 and 28 years old. Add one more year since that list is now a year old. So most of these portables would be slated to be demolished. Newer portables that still have life in them can be relocated and/or potentially sold. That’s more likely to happen in later bond phases where the schools have portables that are younger and in better shape.
If the bond passes in April, when would projects start and when would the new elementary school be ready to accept students?
Preliminary planning is beginning, using funding left over from the 2006 bond measure, which was under budget. The new elementary school in North Redmond would open in the fall of 2018. (Remember, the school board approved a short-term housing plan to get the district through the 2017-18 school year.)
Thank you as always for your responses.
Paige Norman 😄
Bob Yoder at the Redmond Neighborhood Blog has published several posts about the District Bond issues, including Dr. Pierce’s report to the Redmond City Council and a list of “Principles” or terminology that the District is using to identify processes for the Bond.
The Board and the District are passionate about getting the word out for the Bond. They will be hosting a Q&A meeting (details TBA) so that residents can get more information. Both Eric Laliberte and Siri Bliesner will be attending one or both of the meetings for the newly formed EdHNA group in February and March to answer questions and give a presentation on the new bond.
I will continue to post information as I find out.
LWSD Press Release on Bond Requests
2016 Bond pages