STANWOOD — Construction is set to start on the new high school here.
The goal is to open the doors in fall 2020.
A public groundbreaking ceremony is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday. Work to prepare the site for new buildings is expected to be under way the first week of June, at the bottom of the hill at the high school campus.
Most of the work this summer will be underground, construction manager Liz Jamieson said. That should wrap up by mid-September.
The district expects to take bids in November for the second phase, which will include the most noticeable work on the new school. That would likely start in early 2019.
“Certainly that spring things will be exciting,” Jamieson said.
The estimated construction cost for the new high school is $76 million, paid for from a $147.5 million bond passed in February 2017 by Stanwood and Camano Island voters. The $76 million does not include the costs of building a new alternative school to house the Lincoln Hill and Saratoga programs, putting in a new maintenance shop or hiring architects and consultants, Jamieson said.
The three-story high school will be brick and metal, and will have better technology capabilities than current classrooms, she said.
“Design-wise, it’s going to be very visible from sort of the entrance into the city,” Jamieson said.
One of the biggest changes will be limited and secure entrances, she said. The open layout of Stanwood High, built in 1971, includes about 80 exterior doors, along with outdoor walkways and rows of portables known as “Portable Village.” The new school, designed for 1,200 students, will have a large main entrance and classrooms that open to interior hallways.
Though the new school is being built on the same campus as the existing high school, they are in different areas and construction is not expected to interfere with classes, according to the district. Students will continue to go to the current school while the new one is built. Once students move to the new building, the old school will be demolished and parking added, Jamieson said.
There may be stretches over the next couple of years when it seems work has halted, she said, particularly in late fall and early winter of next school year.
“I think it’s important for people not to panic when activity stops between phases,” Jamieson said. “We will probably in September button up the site and there won’t be much more work done until January when we start phase two.”