Education

This $17M Tri-City school will open next year without a name

Construction begins this week on a new elementary school in West Richland. The new school will open in August 2019 but not get its own students for a while.
Construction begins this week on a new elementary school in West Richland. The new school will open in August 2019 but not get its own students for a while. Richland School District

A new West Richland elementary school will open next year.

But it won't get its own students — or its own name, mascot and staff — for a while. That's because it'll first serve as swing space while two other Richland School District elementaries are replaced.

The new $17.5 million school will get its own student body in 2021.

Known for now as Elementary School #11, it's the first major project to get under way from the district's 2017 voter-approved bond package.

It'll be on Sunshine Avenue, near the intersection of Keene Road and Belmont Boulevard.

A groundbreaking is at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the site. The public is invited.

Along with Elementary School #11, the $99 million bond measure also will cover replacing Tapteal and Badger Mountain elementary schools, building another new elementary school — the district's 12th — in south Richland, and some other projects.

"They're all exciting," said Caren Johnson, director of capital projects. "It’s an exciting time for the school district. We’re very fortunate to have a great community that supports schools."

The new two-story, 65,000-square-foot Elementary School #11 will hold about 550 students.

It'll look a lot like the new Jefferson Elementary School, which is under construction now and is set to open this August in central Richland. That project was included in the district's 2013 bond package.

The new West Richland elementary school will have some key safety features, including an entrance that opens to a secure vestibule, requiring visitors to be buzzed in to go deeper into the school.

"It’s an extra level of security and awareness," Johnson said.

Chervenell Construction in Kennewick is the contractor.

The new school will open in August 2019. It'll first be used by Tapteal teachers and students, while that school is replaced.

Then it'll become the temporary Badger Mountain Elementary the following year, while that replacement school is built.

Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529, @saratcherald
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