Kennewick has shown once again why this is a great place to live and learn by passing the $89.5 million school bond. It will build two new elementary schools, a middle school and replace Desert Hills Middle School and Westgate Elementary with new buildings.
Some may not realize that by passing the bond, Kennewick School District will receive an estimated $66.6 million in state matching dollars for construction. This means that the local investment of $89.5 million will actually bring $156 million worth of construction and other projects to our local economy during the next four years.
The district is committed to an aggressive construction timeline so that students can be moved from portable classrooms into the school buildings as soon as possible.
During the next two months, construction bids will be awarded and ground will be broken on the first two bond projects, a new Desert Hills Middle School and Elementary School #15.
Projects and timelines:
• Replace Desert Hills Middle School with a new school on a site adjacent to Clodfelter Road (opens fall 2016).
• Build a new Elementary School #15 at the Sagecrest site south of Southridge High School (opens fall 2016).
• Build a new Middle School #5 at the intersection of 27th Avenue and Southridge Boulevard (opens fall 2017).
• Replace Westgate Elementary School at its current site (opens fall 2017).
• Build a new Elementary School #16 at one of two sites in west Kennewick.
• Make other health, safety, educational and infrastructure improvements. Projects include replacing roofing (Horse Heaven Hills, Highlands and Park middle schools), replacing HVAC systems (Southridge High School, Horse Heaven Hills Middle School and Vista Elementary), making IT network upgrades, purchasing land for a future high school and an elementary school, and pre-design work for Kennewick High School.
Eastgate Elementary, the final project from the 2009 bond, will soon be completed and open its doors to students in the fall. If the new building looks familiar, it is because the district utilized the same design plan as Cottonwood Elementary, with the exception of adding four more classrooms. Using the same school designs not only saves the taxpayers money, but also creates a more efficient construction process.
With expansion and growth, comes necessary elementary and middle school boundary changes. The district will begin the boundary planning process this spring, and boundaries will be finalized by November.
We look forward to updating our community about how the district is fulfilling its promise to voters by keeping them informed about how bond dollars are spent, construction timelines are met, and public input is sought regarding boundary changes.
Thank you to our community for continuing to support the educational success of all Kennewick children.