KINGSTON — The smell of fresh paint fills the halls of Kingston High School as its buildings enter their final phases of construction.
However, a load of unfinished site work and the permitting process stands in the way of their occupancy.
Ground was broken for he $37.5 million project in June 2005. Hidden pockets of unsuitable materials in that soil hindered construction through the fall of 2006. Into the second month of 2007, that has been addressed, North Kitsap School District director of capital programs Robin Shoemaker said Feb. 1.
Though progress is apparent as the school makes its way to completion, the site work has delayed KHS past its planned January finish date. Regardless, the school will open next fall, NKSD officials said.
“Any kind of delay is of concern,” NKSD board president Melanie Mohler said. “(But) at this point, there isn’t any information that would lead us to believe that we’d be in a position to delay the September opening.”
Even so, the postponed work has not been without its impacts, Shoemaker said.
The NKSD and Wick Constructors, which is building KHS, are in the process of sorting through the expensive business of postponed work.
Of the project’s $2.3 million in contingency money, roughly 25 percent — or $575,000 — remains to cover any late fees which the district may accrue, Shoemaker said.
In terms of the school’s slated grand opening in September, the delay shouldn’t impact facility or field usage on the long term schedule, she said.
Grass for the school’s baseball and fastpitch grass fields has been planted, while its synthetic football field is scheduled to be completed by early June, Shoemaker said. Inside the two buildings on the site, elements in varied degrees of completion await final touches.
The school’s skeleton staff — such as principal Christy Cole and other administrative personnel — should be able to work at KHS by early March, Shoemaker said. But first, the NKSD must obtain a temporary occupancy status for the school.
“The temporary occupancy status is more a permission, than it is permit,” she said. “It is the culmination and temporary final signoff that the building was constructed in compliance with the overall building permit.”
While the school attempts to clear that hurdle through building inspections, Shoemaker and Cole, along with an NKSD committee is beginning the process of outfitting its space with both furniture and equipment.
“We’ve started … we haven’t placed an order, but we’ve gotten a list together,” Shoemaker said. “We’re just on the cusp of all that, those are the next things we’ll be working on.”
North Kitsap High School may or may not be needed to share a portion of its resources with the new school, it is still being studied. However, at least some new things like school band and sports uniforms, a library collection and classroom necessities will be ordered new.
Linked by cement-floored hallways, the school’s classrooms have been designed into four different clusters, each with a distinct color. The rooms of each cluster are divided, in most part, by movable wall partitions that should give the learning spaces flexibility.
The halls are highlighted by sections of site-harvested timber and maple accents that add to the school’s natural atmosphere.
Inside the gymnasium, KHS has already taken on a fashionable self-image with a Jeff Bogle-designed Buccaneer ship sailing proudly in the center of the floor.
“(NKHS principal) Kathy (Prasch) and Christy (Cole) have worked really hard to keep things the same, but give everyone their own identity,” Mohler said. “It’s difficult to tell people just to hang in there … we just have to let those pieces fall into place.”
Next week, the Herald will look into the educational piece of the school’s construction — including planned curriculum, staffing and vision for KHS — with Christy Cole.