New school in Granite Falls?

By Eric Stevick

Herald Writer

GRANITE FALLS — Voters in the Granite Falls School District will decide in February if they are willing to pay $21 million for a new high school.

After two years of study, the district will put the measure on the Feb. 5 ballot, the district agreed earlier this week.

The high school would be built on about 40 acres of district-owned land west of Monte Cristo Elementary School, which fronts Burn Road. That land is a combination of property the district has owned for many years and land that was bought with proceeds from a 1999 voter-approved bond measure.

The district is planning to build a high school for 800 students that eventually could be expanded to 1,200 students as the community grows, said Kathy Grant, a school district spokeswoman.

Enrollment in the school district has grown significantly in recent years, increasing from 1,887 in 1998 to 2,271 this fall. The number of ninth- through 12th-graders rose from 475 to 587 during the same span, according to figures compiled by the Northwest Educational Service District.

"This is huge for this town," said Grant.

The existing Granite Falls High School was built in 1974.

If voters approve the bonds, the existing high school would be converted into a middle school and the middle school would be converted into the district’s third elementary school. It’s also possible there would be some reconfiguring of grade levels.

Cost of the 20-year bond measure is estimated at $1.16 per $1,000 of assessed value. That would be $174 a year on a $150,000 home. The ballot measure would need a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

In the past, the school board has discussed other bond packages, including proposals to build a middle school or elementary school instead of a high school.

Architect for the project is Hutteball &Oremus of Kirkland, the same firm that designed the new Monroe High School campus.

You can call Herald Writer Eric Stevick at 425-339-3446

or send e-mail to stevick@heraldnet.com.

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