Kennewick’s 17th elementary school soon will be sprouting up on the recently cleared land where Desert Hills Middle School once stood.
The school board agreed to hire Richland-based Fowler General Construction for $16.5 million to build the two-story elementary.
The company submitted the least expensive of five proposals, coming in at more than $2 million under district estimates.
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The 30-classroom Elementary 17 on Tenth Avenue will house the district’s dual language program, currently at Edison and Hawthorne elementary schools.
Dual language classes include half students who speak English at home and half who speak Spanish at home. They learn each other’s language as they do their classwork.
The building’s design is similar to the new Westgate Elementary on Fourth Avenue.
The school is one of the projects paid for by a $51 million state grant aimed at reducing K-3 class sizes. Kennewick schools were the largest beneficiary of the $234 million the Legislature set aside in 2016.
The school district started the year with 17,949 students in September, which was 444 more than the previous year, and the elementary schools saw the most growth.
The school board approved a $20 million bid from Kennewick-based Chervenell Construction roughly a month ago to build the district’s 16th elementary. The school is being built near the Clearwater Creek housing development.
Initially planned as a 22-classroom building, the school was included in the $89 million bond passed by voters in 2015. The project expanded to 38 classrooms after the influx of cash.
Both elementaries are expected to open in 2018.
As part of the preparation, school officials will begin presenting proposed boundaries to the community in October, said Robyn Chastain, the district’s director of communication and public relations.
The school board plans to make a decision on the boundaries before December.