Opening day for new Lake Stevens elementary delayed a year

LAKE STEVENS — The opening date for the new Stevens Creek Elementary has been pushed back a full year from its original timeline.

In a letter to families sent Tuesday, Superintendent Amy Beth Cook said Lake Stevens’ seventh elementary school is now scheduled to open at the start of the 2018-19 school year.

District officials at first aimed to have the school open at the beginning of 2017-18. It was pushed back to January 2018, which would have been after winter break that year, because potential contractors said the timeline was too aggressive because of the busy construction market and the demand for resources.

Now the date has been pushed back again. The delay is meant to avoid problems with a mid-year move.

“The challenges of temporarily housing Stevens Creek students on multiple campuses and moving them into the new school mid-year may not be in their best interests academically, socially or emotionally,” Cook wrote.

Stevens Creek is under construction now alongside a new early learning center, which is expected to open in fall 2017. The preschool is for up to 250 students per day, or 125 students during each half-day program. The elementary is designed to hold up to 700 students, though the ideal enrollment is around 550. Other elementary schools in the district have been over capacity by several hundred students for the past few years.

“Postponing the opening of Stevens Creek means that our elementary schools will continue to be crowded for one more year,” Cook wrote in the letter. “We will do all we can to keep class sizes as low as possible, but in some schools we simply don’t have capacity for additional teachers because no classrooms are available.”

Voters approved a $116 million bond in February 2016. Construction of the new elementary and preschool are part of that budget.

The school board on Feb. 8 set new elementary school boundaries that are expected to move children from their current elementaries into the new school and shuffle some students among the existing elementaries. Those boundaries were to take effect during the 2017-18 school year, but now will wait until 2018-19.

The district also is working to redraw middle school boundaries. Though a new middle school is not yet under construction, there is space for one on the same campus as Stevens Creek Elementary.

Cook said questions or concerns can be shared by email at tellus@lkstevens.wednet.edu or by calling 425-335-1500.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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