Making dollars go further

MARYSVILLE – The Marysville School District could integrate modular wings into conventional campuses when it builds a new elementary school and rebuilds two others.

All is contingent on voters approving a $171 million bond measure Sept. 20 that also would include a new high school and renovate Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

In early September, the district will begin outlining different construction ideas on its Web site. It hopes to get public feedback in the form of questions and arguments for or against each idea, Marysville Superintendent Larry Nyland said.

He said the district is studying the modular option because it believes taxpayers could get more square footage for their buck, more matching money from the state for future construction and the flexibility to expand or downsize in the future.

“We are exploring all options to stretch our tax dollars,” he said.

Nyland cautioned that using modular construction – classroom wings built in a factory – would not be the same as portables. The modular pieces would be built to the district’s specifications. They would make up one-third or less of a campus with the remainder conventionally built.

“It would be an integral part of the building,” he said. “It would be connected.”

The district, which has not passed a bond measure to build new schools in 15 years, has 117 portable classrooms scattered around its campuses.

State matching money is based on square footage, and modular construction wouldn’t be counted against the square footage the state pays for future projects.

The district is expecting rapid growth that could last two decades or more.

However, many districts that expand over many years begin to lose enrollment when children grow up and their parents remain in their homes. Modular sections of a school could be removed and added to meet new needs.

The district also is considering building new Cascade and Liberty elementary schools as two-story buildings. It would allow them to be expanded from 38,000 to 54,000 square feet.

The possibility of two-story buildings will be part of the discussion when the district’s facilities committee of staff and residents meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the district office, 4220 80th St. NE.

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