Progress Edition

Kennewick School District: New schools keep district on pace with growth

The 12-classroom addition and athletic facilities improvements at Kamiakin High School.
The 12-classroom addition and athletic facilities improvements at Kamiakin High School. Courtesy Kennewick School District

Kennewick School District continues its trend of steady growth, with nearly 19,000 students enrolled in its schools and more than 2,600 staff members working hard to serve them.

Two new elementary schools opened in August to help meet the demand — the 38-classroom Amon Creek Elementary and the 30-classroom dual-language Fuerza Elementary.

An expansion of Tri-Tech Skills Center wrapped up over the summer and Mid-Columbia Partnership moved into a new permanent home in January, after years in portable classrooms.

Keewaydin Discovery Center also was expanded by four classrooms this year, Legacy High School is poised to move into a new building this spring, and a 22-classroom addition to Amistad Elementary School will make its debut in August.

And that’s just the beginning.

The community showed its support for Kennewick schools in February by approving a $125 million bond that will create room for continued growth well into the future.

The bond’s signature project is a new Kennewick High.

The two-story school will replace the Lions’ existing home, which dates to 1951. A science wing, a dining commons and a courtyard are among the features planned.

The new building will connect to the existing Lion’s Den gym and to the school’s remodeled auditorium.

Classes will continue during construction, which starts this summer. Students and staff will use the existing math and science wing and annex building, the Fruitland Building and other space while the new school is built.

The new Kennewick High will open in August 2021.

Kamiakin and Southridge high schools also are getting attention, thanks to the community’s support of the bond, with 12-classroom additions planned at both schools. The additions will bring each school’s capacity to 2,000 students.

Athletic facility improvements also are planned at both Kamiakin and Southridge, including replacing the existing grass fields with artificial turf.

The two-phase overhaul of Amistad Elementary will be completed in 2020 through the bond.

A state grant aimed at reducing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade paid for the 22-classroom addition that’s under construction now. The bond will cover replacing the original Amistad building with a new 20-classroom school, which will then connect to the addition.

Amistad will have 42 classrooms total when both phases are done, making it the largest elementary school in the district.

Ridge View Elementary also will be replaced or remodeled, with the school expanded from its existing 20 classrooms to 30 classrooms. It will open in August 2024.

And the bond will help us continue looking ahead, allowing us to build our 18th elementary school in a high-growth area of the district. The new school will open between 2022 and 2025.

We also continue working to ensure students are ready for the future, with our one-to-one computer device initiative rolling out this school year — again thanks to the community’s support via the technology levy approved by district voters in 2018.

Meanwhile, most district third-graders are meeting our rigorous reading goal, most students are taking Algebra 1 or higher before they hit high school, and the vast majority of our students report that they feel safe within our schools.

We look forward to continuing to build on our growth and success, using taxpayer dollars wisely to provide safe schools that prepare students for life after graduation. We’re grateful to our supportive community for making that possible.