Mid-Columbia school construction roundup: Fixes, new buildings continue through summer

Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldJuly 13, 2014 

Eastgate School Construction

Aden Masonry employees Joel Meyers, Dan Johnson and Jake Westphal, from left, recently work on the concrete block foundation for the stage and music room area of the new Eastate Elementary School in Kennewick. The Kennewick company is a sub-contractor on the project.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Students and teachers may be away from their classrooms for the summer, but Mid-Columbia schools are far from empty or quiet.

Maintenance and construction crews are working on numerous projects around the Tri-Cities -- some finishing up, others just starting -- as school districts seek to keep their buildings in order, make use of tens of millions of voter-approved bond dollars and prepare for additional students anticipated this fall.

Here is a rundown of some of the bigger projects:

--Kennewick

-- Eastgate Elementary School. The district began rebuilding the school on 10th Avenue near the Benton County Fairgrounds before school ended by preparing a site next to the old building and working on the foundation. The old building is set to be demolished this month so construction on the rest of the new facility can continue.

About $14 million remaining from a 2009 $68 million voter-approved bond is paying for the project. The new school will be about 56,000 square feet, with more classrooms, a dedicated lunchroom and new technology. Eastgate students will be in the Fruitland building on Garfield Street this fall but will return to their campus for the 2015-16 school year.

w Lincoln Elementary. Crews have worked on the school in the Southridge area for the past year. It is on schedule to open for the 2014-15 school year. It was also paid for by the 2009 bond.

-- Portable classrooms. Twenty-seven portable classrooms will be installed at 11 Kennewick schools to accommodate growth and other program needs, district officials said. They will cost about $2.3 million.

Most of the portables will be new, with seven at Westgate Elementary School on Fourth Avenue. Another three will be installed at Highlands Middle School while Hawthorne, Washington, Sunset View, Ridgeview, Cascade and Southgate elementary schools and Horse Heaven Hills and Desert Hills middle schools will each receive two. Amistad Elementary School will get one new portable.

Richland

-- New south Richland elementary school. District officials said they anticipate beginning construction of Richland's newest elementary school sometime this week. Fowler Construction of Richland will build the school near the intersection of Westcliffe Boulevard and Brantingham Road, for about $16 million.

The new school is one of several connected to the $98 million bond approved by Richland voters in February 2013. It is expected to alleviate overcrowding at other south Richland schools where enrollments continue to climb and is scheduled to open for the 2015-16 school year.

-- Sacajawea and Lewis & Clark elementary schools. Also part of the school's bond projects, the about 40-year-old schools are being torn down and rebuilt to provide more classrooms, updated technology and other needs. Each project is costing between $16 million and $17 million and will be finished for the 2015-16 school year.

The new buildings are being built alongside the current schools. The old Lewis & Clark at Downing Street in central Richland will be torn down once students move in to the new school. The old Sacajawea on Catskill Street in north Richland will remain operational for one more year. Students from Marcus Whitman Elementary School will use the old building for a year while their school on Gray Street is rebuilt.

-- Chief Joseph Middle School. Crews will finish nearly all aspects of a new heating and cooling system at the middle school this summer, district officials said, with some finishing touches occurring in the first weeks of the fall semester. The project, part of the bond, was budgeted at $5.6 million but ended up costing the district about $3 million. Leftover money will be used to cover other projects designated in the bond.

w New playground toys. Equipment is being replaced with new toys at Badger Mountain and Tapteal elementary schools. The new toys will cost about $110,000 total and replace several older pieces

-- Pasco

-- Marie Curie and Barbara McClintock STEM elementary schools. Both schools are part of a $46.8 million voter-approved bond. While school officials broke ground on McClintock in June, construction is expected to begin in earnest in mid-September.

McClintock, which is being built on Road 60 in west Pasco, will cost $16.8 million while Curie, being built next to Whittier Elementary School in east Pasco, has a $21 million price tag because it will be a larger building, district officials said.

Both are scheduled to open for the 2015-16 school year. They will focus on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, education.

-- Delta High School. Pasco, Kennewick and Richland school officials recently broke ground on Broadmoor Boulevard in west Pasco for the cooperatively operated STEM high school. It is costing $13.7 million with the bulk of the money specifically provided either by the Legislature or state education officials. It will open for the 2015-16 school year.

-- Rosalind Franklin STEM Elementary School. Another STEM elementary school paid for by the bond, it is being built near the intersection of Powerline Road and Road 52 in west Pasco for $15.6 million. The school is scheduled to open for the 2015-16 school year.

-- Portable classrooms. The district will install 14 portable classrooms at six schools through the summer at a price of $2 million total.

McLoughlin Middle School and Rowena Chess, Emerson, Captain Gray, Whittier and Virgie Robinson elementary schools will receive the portables to accommodate anticipated student growth

-- Frost Elementary School pedestrian overpass. The district dismantled the overpass at the intersection of 20th Avenue and Pearl Street recently, citing structural issues. It will not be replaced, with district officials noting the high cost and the lack of need because of stoplights and crosswalks installed since it was built decades ago.

-- Edgar Brown Stadium. The track near Pasco High School is being replaced throughout the summer, meaning it will be closed to the public through at least mid-August.

Workers are also replacing the field turf at the stadium. Field turf was last replaced at the stadium in 2002 and meant to last only eight years.

-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402

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