Granite Falls to vote on $13.7M bond for school projects

GRANITE FALLS — A $13.7 million bond proposal is set to go before voters in February.

The school board voted in November to put the bond measure on the ballot Feb. 14. The district estimates it would cost taxpayers 13 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, or about $26 more a year on a $200,000 home. It would pay for two major projects.

The first is an update to Granite Falls Middle School that would overhaul and add class spaces for specific types of courses. Electives recently added or expanded include engineering and manufacturing, forensics, environmental science, digital media and communications, and a family and consumer science curriculum with culinary arts, textiles and home economics.

The middle school building previously was Granite Falls High School. Built in 1964, it wasn’t designed with the types of classrooms, technology and equipment needed for the courses the district now wants to offer. Officials call the modernization a “STEAM” project, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. The bond would pay to transform classrooms to suit the needs of those courses.

Updated rooms would have group learning areas, project demonstration stations and improved technology. If the bond passes, detailed design work would be done in 2017. Construction could be finished by fall 2018, according to a district timeline.

The second project that would be funded by the bond is a grandstand at Granite Falls High School. The school was built with about $11 million in state money and $32 million in bonds passed by voters in 2005. It opened in 2008 without a grandstand, though it had a new track and field.

The district has since upgraded the track and field with about $1.5 million in improvements. They added lighting, a press box, scoreboard, concession stand, restrooms and ticket booth. There is bleacher seating for about 500 people. That was added this year.

The grandstand would have room for about 2,000 spectators and the 500-person bleachers would be relocated and used elsewhere in the district, according to spokeswoman Melanie Freeman. There would be new team meeting rooms, a tunnel leading onto the field and storage space for equipment. The seats would be covered and have wheelchair-accessible spaces.

The bond also is meant to pay for school security upgrades. Plans call for new video cameras, improvements to lighting and fencing, and a better campus-wide alert system in case of emergency. The cameras would be visible to deter crime and likely would be capable of picking up audio as well as images, according to a district presentation.

Public meetings are planned to address questions about the bond. One is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the district office.

Additional gatherings are planned in 2017. A meeting is set for 5 p.m. Jan. 25 at the district office. More casual “coffee sessions” to talk about the bond are planned for 8 a.m. Jan 10, 3 p.m. Jan. 23 and 8 a.m. Feb. 3 at the Buzz Inn downtown.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439;

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