The Kennewick School District is getting started on building one of its new elementary schools.
Fowler General Construction of Richland recently was awarded a $14.4 million contract for Kennewick’s 15th elementary school in the Sagecrest development near Southridge High School.
That means construction will begin soon on the second school being paid for by an $89.5 million bond votes passed in February.
The first is the rebuilding of Desert Hills Middle School under construction on Clodfelter Road. That school also is being built by Fowler General Construction, said Doug Carl, the school district’s director of capital projects.
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“We worked hard on putting a bond package together that we thought the community would be supportive of and match the need,” Carl said. “We are excited that we are getting it out right away.”
The new elementary school is meant to help alleviate overcrowding and provide space for anticipated future growth. Hundreds of Kennewick elementary students are taught in temporary classrooms, filling the equivalent of two schools.
The bond also is paying for a second elementary school, a new middle school and a new building for Westgate Elementary. The school district also is using matching money from the state for the construction projects.
The 15th elementary school will use the same building design as Eastgate Elementary, which opens in fall. The school district received more matching dollars than expected from the state with its 2009 bond, and that paid for the new Eastgate.
Construction is expected to take about 14 months, which means the new elementary would open fall 2016, Carl said. The new Desert Hills also is expected to open at that time.
The 15th elementary school has not been named yet. School district officials expect to announce the new school’s boundaries by November.
School district officials also plan to send what will be the district’s fifth middle school out to bid toward the end of May, Carl said.
Construction could start on that school in August and finish by January 2017.
That means the middle school at the intersection of 27th Avenue and Southridge Boulevard could open in early 2017 instead of that fall. It will be just down the street from Southridge High School.