Updated: Pasco, Richland break ground on school projects (w/gallery)

Work began on two new schools Thursday as Tri-City school districts continue their push to improve facilities and make room for more students.

The Pasco School District broke ground on Barbara McClintock STEM Elementary School on Road 60 in west Pasco.

Richland school and community leaders started work on a replacement building for Sacajawea Elementary School on Catskill Street in north Richland.

Both buildings will open for the 2015-16 school year.

Pasco and Richland voters approved bonds for the two schools and others in February 2013. Richland is using its $98 million bond to completely rebuild three elementary schools and part of another, build a new elementary school and middle school outside central Richland, construct a new building for the Three Rivers HomeLink alternative program, install a new heating and cooling system at Chief Joseph Middle School and make safety improvements at Fran Rish Stadium.

Pasco’s $46.8 million bond will pay for three elementary schools, all geared toward a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, curriculum, as well as other projects.

Richland began construction on a new Lewis & Clark Elementary School recently and will break ground on a new south Richland elementary school in the coming weeks. Its school board is still determining where it will move the HomeLink program and build a future middle school.

Pasco is finishing up construction of Rosalind Franklin STEM Elementary School at Road 52 and Powerline Road and has yet to start on Marie Curie STEM Elementary School near Whittier Elementary School. Curie is also scheduled to open for the 2015-16 school year.

The Kennewick School District has been working on the foundation and site work for a new Eastgate Elementary School for several weeks. Money left over from Kennewick’s 2009 bond is paying for the project.

All three districts will celebrate another groundbreaking next week: Delta High School, a STEM program the districts cooperatively run, will begin construction of its $17.1 million facility on Broadmoor Boulevard in west Pasco.

Allocations from the Legislature and state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction are paying for most of the project, along with some donations and contributions from the districts.

w Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402;; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald