LAKEWOOD — The school district has changed its plans. The community is getting a completely new high school rather than an overhaul of the existing building.
Building a new high school instead of remodeling the current one is expected to shave six months off the project timeline and 8,000 square feet off the original design, Superintendent Michael Mack said.
“It does not change the cost at all,” he said. “In fact, we’re hoping we might be able to save some money. But we won’t spend any more money.”
An open house is scheduled for Wednesday to showcase the proposed design and to give people a chance to learn more and share suggestions or concerns.
“We’re still a couple months out from saying this is exactly how it will look,” Mack said.
The project is funded by a $66.8 million bond, which passed in April with 1,995 yes votes and 1,325 no votes. The measure had failed in 2013 by about 30 votes.
Plans for remodeling the high school called for a 168,000-square-foot building that incorporated the gymnasium and several existing walls. The new design is for a 160,000-square-foot structure, but has a better use of space, officials said.
A detailed design is in progress and crews are expected to start preparing the site next fall. A tentative ground-breaking is set for January 2016 and the district expects it to be ready for students by fall 2017, about six months earlier than estimated in the remodeling plan.
The new school will be built next to the current one, at 17023 11th Ave. NE, and the current school torn down after the new one is finished, Mack said. He does not anticipate moving classes into portables during construction, which would have been necessary during a remodel.
The Lakewood School Board voted unanimously in September to move forward with a new building rather than an overhaul.
The new school can’t be finished quick enough, music teacher Katy Trapp said. She’s taught band, choir, piano and other music courses at the high school for seven years. In that time, the music program has doubled in size from fewer than 100 kids to more than 200.
Class space hasn’t changed, though. There’s one music room, meaning instruction time gets eaten up by set-up and tear-down. She loses more than an hour each week of teaching time while students put away instruments and rearrange the classroom for the next group.
Some of her classes cram 60 students into a space built for 45, and there are no separate practice rooms for small ensembles.
“We’re bursting at our seams,” she said.
The new school design includes two separate music rooms for vocal and instrument classes, ensemble practice rooms and storage space for equipment and uniforms.
“Now we’ll have space to grow,” Trapp said. “We can’t wait.”
The school district asked for feedback during an open house last month and decided to move up work on the high school’s athletic facilities before breaking ground on the new building.
State matching funds, estimated to total at least $5 million, have been earmarked to help pay for an update of the school’s athletic facilities. Work will start on a new track and turf field this summer. Originally, the track and field were expected to be the last pieces done on the project.
Kari Bray: firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3439,