A series of construction projects are keeping Kennewick School District officials busy over summer break.
The brand-new Cottonwood Elementary School and the newly-renovated Canyon View Elementary are scheduled to be done soon, and work on the next elementary in line for a face-lift -- Southgate -- is under way.
The district also is turning a former grocery store building into a new central office and doing smaller capital projects to improve other facilities.
"It's definitely a busy time," said Lorraine Cooper, district spokeswoman.
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Most of the work is being paid for with money from a $68 million bond approved by voters in 2009.
Here's an overview of what's happening:
— Construction of Cottonwood Elementary in Badger Canyon is expected to wrap up at the end of the month. Staff should be able to move in at the beginning of August.
The 51,000-square-foot school is needed to help manage growing student enrollment in the lower grades, officials have said.
"The opening of Cottonwood relieves some overcrowding at our elementaries, so that'll be nice," said Doug Carl, district facilities planner.
For example, two portable classrooms at Sunset View Elementary are being moved because they will no longer be needed there, he said.
— The district anticipates getting occupancy of the newly-renovated Canyon View Elementary this week. The school was the first in a line of several aging elementaries to be remodeled with the bond funding.
Construction started last year. Canyon View students spent the 2009-10 academic year in the Fruitland Building, a former elementary school in downtown that's being used as swing space during the renovations.
Canyon View staff will move back into their school next week. Meanwhile, staff of Southgate are moving into the Fruitland Building.
The district turned over that renovation project to the contractor on Tuesday, with the project scheduled to wrap up next summer, Carl said.
The other elementary schools in line for renovation under the bond are Sunset View, Cascade and Lincoln.
The remodeling is more than a few basic upgrades. The schools are being overhauled and will have larger classrooms and more space, including separate gyms and multipurpose rooms.
The renovations are good not only for students, but also for the community because there will be more space for public use, Cooper said.
— Construction is under way at the Fourth Avenue Center near Amistad Elementary. The former grocery store -- already home to the district's IT department and Science Resource Center -- is being turned into a new central office. Departments including the superintendent's office, business office and human resources will be housed there. Construction is scheduled to be done by the beginning of December.
— Other projects this summer include re-doing the bus loops at Cascade and Edison elementary schools and upgrading the HVAC system at Kennewick High.
Officials said a competitive bid climate for the larger projects means the district has been able to stretch its bond dollars further.
"We're pleased that we've been able to keep these projects not only on time but also under budget," Cooper said.
The district is planning a ribbon cutting for Canyon View later this summer and an open house and tour night at Cottonwood in the fall.
* Sara Schilling: 509-582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org