School district purchases land for new high school

KINGSTON — North Kitsap School Board meetings are not usually filled with spontaneous celebration, especially when they are reaching their fourth hour. But after the school board approved the final item on the agenda of Dec. 13, the 15 members of the audience still in the room filled it with clapping and cheers.

KINGSTON — North Kitsap School Board meetings are not usually filled with spontaneous celebration, especially when they are reaching their fourth hour.

But after the school board approved the final item on the agenda of Dec. 13, the 15 members of the audience still in the room filled it with clapping and cheers.

After years of speculation and months of planning and negotiation, the school board approved the purchase of a 29-acre parcel in Kingston that will be the site of a new secondary school.

The board paid Bob Thompson, the owner of the nearby My Girl Museum, $370,000 for the land.

“If I had a hat,” said Terry Heindl, “I’d throw it into the air.”

Heindl, the district’s assistant superintendent in charge of finances, was joined in joy by the rest of the board, which made the new secondary school the centerpiece of a recent $60-million bond.

Now, with the land purchases, board members envision a school that can be utilized by students at nearby Gordon Elementary, Kingston Junior High, and Spectrum Community School; a school that can be an environmental learning site, where students can learn from nearby wetlands; and a school that can be a community center for people in North Kitsap.

“It’s a relief,” said board member Catherine Ahl. “It’s exciting. And it’s a step forward.”

Ahl said the land was the best available to the district because of its location, the amount of buildable land available, and the opportunity it provided to work with the county.

Board president Bethany McDonald said, “It’s a very exciting step for the district.”

McDonald said the site will be a great one for the school, which is planned to open in 2006.

“We can combine it with environmental learning,” she said. “There can be a partnership with the schools. And it was under budget.”

The bond had given the district a budget of $1.5 million for land purchase.

The district now has 106 acres of land in the Kingston area (not counting Wolfle Elementary). Besides the schools near the newly-purchased site, they also have a transportation center that will be within sight of the new school.

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