In 2015, SoWashCo Schools asked voters for construction funding with two bond questions on the ballot. Voters approved the first bond question to construct a new middle school, which opened as Oltman Middle School in fall 2018. The second bond question was not approved and would have provided additions and improvements to existing high schools and upgrades to several elementary schools. Since 2015, the need for improvements and upgrades has increased along with increased growth in the community.
In 2018, the School Board approved a long-range facility planning process. A steering committee and long-range facility task force evaluated enrollment projections, building capacity calculations, housing developments and multiple renovation and construction plans. As SoWashCo Schools prepared to share the plans with the community for feedback in March 2020, COVID-19 arrived and delayed all planning for a full year. Planning began again in 2021 with final board approval of the plan on April 21, 2022.
Voters reject a bond referendum that would have provided renovations and upgrades for elementary and high schools.
The School Board approved creation of a long-range facility planning process to identify enrollment projections, building capacity calculations, community growth plans and to collect data.
A steering committee of administrators was created to gather input from stakeholders to help make a final recommendation to the superintendent.
March-Aug. 2019 The steering committee reviewed and collected enrollment projections, building capacities, community growth plans and other important data.
June-Sept. 2019 Facility staff consulted with principals, department leaders, program providers and other internal stakeholders to determine projected facility needs for student learning.
A task force of staff and community members (35+) was created to review enrollment projections, building capacity calculations, community growth plans and collect data in order to provide input on construction options.
Focus groups were held with district advisory groups, school staff and city decision-makers to review construction options and provide feedback.
School construction options were finalized for the community to review.
COVID-19 - Long-range facility planning was put on hold. Scheduled community information sessions for feedback on the school construction options were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leadership and steering committees began to regroup to review new data and plans from the previous facility planning process. Home construction and growth continued throughout the pandemic.
Facility staff consulted with principals, department leaders, program providers and other internal stakeholders to determine projected facility needs for student learning.
Steering and leadership committees reviewed the latest residential building data and projected housing developments in the cities we serve.
Long-range Facility Team updated the school board with current and projected enrollment data and housing developments.
The original task force members (staff and community members) revisited the previous construction plans and reviewed new enrollment projections and housing developments.
The design team and leadership committee revised previous plans to accommodate ongoing growth and new facility and student needs.
Planning begins for a bond referendum election for Aug. 9, 2022, pending board approval.
New plans, enrollment data and timelines shared with the school board and the original task force for feedback.
Plan update shared with the school board.
Plans narrowed to one preferred plan and shared with the school board and community.
Community information sessions scheduled to share the preferred plan and gather feedback.
Request board approval for final long-range facility proposal.
Request board approval to ask voters to consider construction funding through a bond referendum.
Begin sharing election information, tax impact and sample ballots with voters in preparation for the bond referendum.
Special election for the bond referendum to fund construction in the long-range facility plan.
Earliest completed construction of new buildings and boundary changes.