CENTRAL KITSAP — The floor plan for the new high school and middle school campus in Central Kitsap School District is about 45 days away from completion, according to business and operations director Doug Newell.
Newell said that after spending Tuesday with the CKSD superintendent and Integris, the architectural firm, they’re in the process of creating the schematic design for the school campus, which he said is the floor plan. Next step? Design development, Newell said, which will look at the small details of the building’s design, such as which side of the door the light switch is located.
The new schools will be built on the same property the existing, antiquated schools are located, in the center of the campus.
“The main building was built in the 1940s,” Newell said. “Our middle school was built in the late ’50s, way before the mall.
“These were effectively designed to support a rural community because that’s what Kitsap County was in the ’40s and ’50s. We’re now a very suburban community, and our kids are focused on joining the workforce not just here in Kitsap County, but all over the world.”
He said when the school district first started talking about this project, they conducted studies of the current building, which houses both high- and middle-school classes. Just to repair and stabilize the current buildings would cost $40 million, Newell said — and that doesn’t account for preparing the building for the future education of Central Kitsap students.
That led to the decision to construct new schools. In February, Central Kitsap voters agreed when they passed a $220 million bond measure that includes construction of the new schools.
“We went through quite a long discussion with our school board: ‘What are those critical things to support education? What are those key elements?’ ” Newell said.
He said when the question was brought to the public, two things stood out: eliminating the use of portable buildings, and increasing safety and security.
“Currently, we have 13 buildings on campus that are portables. Some of those temporary classrooms date back to the ’70s,” Newell said. “Another thing we heard loud and clear was the improvement of safety and security. The current high school has 26 doors that lead to the outside. It’s hard to secure portables. The girls’ locker room opens to the outside, not an internal hallway.”
Also, Newell said the goal of their design is to make the building flexible for the future.
“Think about the changes that have occurred in the past 10 years with how we consume media,” he said. “Will a library look the same 50 years from now as it does today? That (flexibility) was a big driving component.”
The current design calls for two buildings — one middle school and one high school — on the same campus to provide ample opportunity for students.
“What about those kids that have musical abilities and want to go over and work with the high school music teacher?” he said. “Or they’re smart in math and advanced in foreign languages? We want to provide the opportunity in a campus setting that allows that.”
Families and community members are invited to see designs and comment on the new schools at an open house at 7 p.m., Dec. 6 in the middle school cafeteria. Newell said the response to the current designs was “universally” positive.
“Central Kitsap School District is very thankful for the community’s support we’ve received,” Newell said. “We’re excited about what we’re going to be doing. The community support of our kids, their kids, the community’s kids — it’s just fantastic.”
Newell said actual construction will begin in June 2017. Most of the work in the early months, however, will be for things like mapping out the construction site and installing new sewer, water and power lines to the main building. Observers won’t see much above-ground work until January 2018.
According to the district website, it will be one of the largest school projects in the state.
“It will be worth the wait!” said Steve Coons, Central Kitsap High School principal, on the district website. “At the end of the tunnel will be an extremely beautiful and vibrant facility for our students.”
For more information, visit www.ckschools.org.
Michelle Beahm is a reporter with the Central Kitsap Reporter and Bremerton Patriot. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.