$220 million sought for major CK schools upgrade

Plan calls for new CK high school and middle school, upgrades to Olympic and Klahowya

SILVERDALE – Central Kitsap voters will be asked in February to approve $220 million in funding to build a new CK high school and new CK middle school, and to make a host of other district-wide building improvements.

The plan, called “Long Range Facility Plan Phase II,” would keep the total CKSD tax rate level at $5.21 per $1,000 assessed value.

“It’s about replacing Central Kitsap High School. It’s about replacing Central Kitsap Middle School. It’s about building permanent classrooms at Olympic (High School) so we can remove the portable classrooms. It’s about modernizing the technical education because Olympic, while structurally it’s in great condition, the tech-ed spaces are now 35 years old and they need to be modernized to meet current requirements and train our kids for the future,” said Doug Newell, CKSD executive director of business & operations.

[ CKSD PDF: Summary of LRFP Phase II ]

[ CKSD PDF: “Recommendation: CKSD Long Range Facility Plan Phase II” ]

The plan includes:

• $117.1 million to replace Central Kitsap High School with a new 218,524-square-foot facility.

• $60.8 million to replace Central Kitsap Middle School with a new 106,694-square-foot facility.

• $33.1 million to replace portable classrooms at Olympic High School with permanent classrooms (66,754 square feet) and to modernize career and technical education classrooms.

• $25.2 million to replace portable classrooms at Klahowya Secondary School with permanent classrooms (44,392 square feet) and to build a gymnasium.

• $17.8 million to conduct critical and required repairs for all schools district-wide.

• $5.4 million to upgrade security for all schools district-wide.

The total cost of phase II is estimated to be $260 million. Because the buildings are more than 30 years old, they’re eligible for $40 million from the State of Washington’s School Construction Assistance Program. Thus, local taxpayers would be responsible for the remaining $220 million.

Community members, students and school employees teamed up to create the plan. District buildings were comprehensively assessed and it was determined that the secondary schools needed the most attention. CKSD then brought in architects and engineers to come up with options, cost estimates and a final recommendation.

The CKSD board unanimously approved a capital projects recommendation at their Oct. 28 meeting. At their Nov. 12 meeting the board unanimously approved two resolutions that authorize asking voters to approve the levy and a 20-year bond.

CKSD School Board President Bruce Richards said the plan was “a good concise plan for the future.”

Board Vice President Jeanie Schulze said “What I like is all three high schools get something significant.”

The plan calls for the current tax burden of $5.21 to remain the same as it is now. However, the numbers are shifted around a little: The capital project levy is currently $1.90 and the school support levy is $3.31. But with the phase II plan, the capital project levy is replaced with a capital project bond at $1.75 and the school support levy is increased to $3.47.

A Google Maps photo, left, shows CK High School and Middle School as they are today. The photo at right shows how a new high school and middle school would be located in the center of the property.

Central Kitsap High School and CK Middle School

It is estimated to cost $117.1 million for a new high school and $60.8 million for a new middle school. The buildings would open late 2019.

According to a CKSD document, “For both CKHS and CKMS, the modernization cost was nearly equal to the cost of replacing the schools. When we factor in the challenges (and additional soft costs) related to phasing modernization of the schools and that the useful life expectancy of a new school is significantly longer than a modernized school, the best value to the community is to replace the existing schools.”

During a presentation to students and the board Oct. 28, Newell said the CK High School had “great kids and great students but, a building that’s very tired.”

Newell displayed a chart showing the year that each CKSD building was constructed. Many of them were built in the 1970s and 1980s, but CKHS is older.

“Your school is way over here on the left,” Newell said, pointing to the very oldest building on the chart. “1942 was the core. And then it was built on … and then it was built on … and then it was built on,” Newell said. The high school building had design challenges as well as deferred maintenance that needed to be addressed.

Newell said CKHS didn’t have an adequate fire-suppression system and had structural problems.

“When I walk to the principal’s office … you walk downhill … the foundation is starting to sink. There’s something wrong there,” Newell said.

He said CKHS also had design problems because of the way additions to the core building were tacked-on over the years. He said, for example, while the boys locker room was easily accessible, the locker room for the girls required a meandering trip outside, down a flight of stairs and into the basement.

Newell said many different renovation or rebuilding options were considered, but, “When we think about renovating the high school and trying to build a new middle school, the price comes almost $15-$20 million more than building new.” $40 million would be needed just to stabilize the two existing buildings, and that wouldn’t even include bringing them up to current building codes or current education standards.

“A new high school is $117 million (but) we’re at about $130-135 million to try to modernize the existing building at which point we’re like ‘really?’ Because we’re going to have to tear some away. And at the end of the day we get a design that was great in 1942, when they built the core, that’s subsequently every time we added on to your building … got worse for design.”

Newell said the plan was to build a three-story-tall, combined new middle school and new high school in the center of the current plot of land. This would solve congestion problems at the schools by allowing space for a new bus loop and auto drop-off loop.

Students would stay at the current buildings until the new buildings are done, then they would move into the new buildings. Then the old buildings would be torn down.

A transportation lot at the north end of the property would be turned into an athletic field.

Due to terrain elevation, the high school portion of the building would be offset one floor higher than the attached middle school. The high school and middle school would share a commons building with the middle school using the lower commons floor and the high school using the upper commons level.

The cost of the new buildings includes demolition costs, new parking lots, and new athletic fields.

A plan for Olympic High School shows new classroom space, modernized areas and a middle school.

Olympic High School

Improvements at OHS would cost $33.1 million.

“Right now, Olympic is a one-story high school. We propose putting a new classroom addition on top of an existing one-story,” Newell said. “This allows us to remove the portable classrooms that are out behind the high school and get rid of them.”

Other changes include:

• Career and technical education classrooms would be modernized.

• The commons would be updated.

• Installation of a new all-weather athletic field.

Work would be complete in the Fall of 2018.

New classroom space (in red) would replace portables at Klahowya Secondary School.

Klahowya Secondary School

Improvements would cost $25.2 million. Permanent classrooms would replace 40-year-old hand-me-down portable classrooms that were showing their age.

“They’re absolutely not ideal” for teaching, Newell said of the portables.

A new auxiliary gymnasium, band room and all-weather practice field would be built. Work would be complete in early 2018.

(LRFP Phase 1 is wrapping up. Phase I included: Repairs and safety upgrades at all schools; construction of Bud Hawk Elementary School; modernization of Silverdale Elementary; and Technology upgrades.)