Voters Pass $4.66 Billion for School Projects

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Voters in Washington recently approved $4.66 billion in maintenance and operations levies for school construction, as well as $507 million in bond issues and $816 million in capital projects.
The ratification of funds is good news for construction companies in Washington during a period when construction spending across the country is at its lowest in seven years.
Washington’s largest school capital levy was passed by the state’s largest district, Seattle Public Schools. Voters there approved a $270 million levy, of which about $140.5 million has been set aside for building improvements, with the remainder going toward technology and academic enhancements.
Nearly $50 million of the levy monies will be used to repair and reopen five elementary schools to meet a growing regional student population. In addition, $27.7 million of the building improvement funds will be used for energy efficiency projects at six schools, $18 million will go toward preventative maintenance, and $15.5 million will fund fire suppression and/or ADA and life-safety improvements.
Three schools in the Seattle Public Schools district will be upgraded with seismic improvements worth $13.2 million, while seven buildings will receive a total of $13.4 million in HVAC system improvements.
Other projects include:
• At the Shoreline School District north of Seattle, voters passed a $150 million bond measure to fund buildings to replace the 50-year-old Shorewood and Shorecrest high schools. The state will supply $35 million in matching funds for the two projects. School officials will seek general construction bids in mid-2011 for both schools. Bassetti Architects of Seattle is designing the Shorewood replacement, while Integrus Architecture of Seattle is providing architectural services for Shorecrest. 
• Northshore School District voters approved $149.2 million in bond measure money. Approximately $72 million of the allocated funds will go toward constructing a three-story building with 49 classrooms and a new theater at Woodinville High School. Cornerstone General Contractors of Bothell is the general contractor for the project, while Studio Meng Strazzara of Seattle is the architect.
• At Kenmore Junior High, $25 million of the bond money is being used to construct 16 general education and science classrooms, a replacement kitchen and cafeteria, and music, shop, and technology areas. NAC Architecture of Seattle is doing the design work, and officials plan to open bids for general contracting in spring 2011. The Northshore School District will use the remaining $52 million for districtwide upgrades, ranging from HVAC system improvements to enhancements to track and tennis courts.
• Tacoma Public Schools will receive a $140.4 million capital levy, $51 million of which will be used to replace Baker Middle School and $48 million of which will go toward replacing Hunt Middle School. BLRB Architects of Tacoma is designing Baker, and officials will seek a general contracting bid in June. McGranahan Architects of Tacoma is designing Hunt, with construction starting sometime in summer 2013. A third facility in the district, Washington-Hoyt Elementary School, will receive $25 million in renovations.
• Voters in the Clover Park School District passed a $92 million bond, $38 million of which will be used to build a new Hudtloff Middle School. The state will contribute an additional $10 million to the project. Another $19 million in district bond money, plus $7 million in matching state funds, has been set aside for a new elementary school. In addition, a new $42 million Harris Preparatory Academy will be built to serve grades six through 12. Approximately $7 million in state funds are expected for the Harris Preparatory project.
• The Lake Washing School District and the Cheney School District approved an $83 million capital levy and a $79 million capital construction bond, respectively. Lake Washington will use the money for facilities and technology improvements at the district’s 45 buildings, which will begin in 2011. In Cheney, about $37 million in funds will help replace Cheney Middle School and build a second middle school. NAC Architecture of Seattle will design both projects, and officials hope to go to bid in early March 2011.
• The Bellevue School District and Everett Public Schools will receive capital levy funding. In Bellevue, $74 million from a five-year capital levy will be spent to upgrade and remodel Ringdall Middle School, repair the district’s transportation facility and replace tracks at four high schools, and will be used for other purposes as well. Everett voters set aside $48 million, including $11.2 million for building repairs, infrastructure upgrades and technology enhancements. 
Other significant levies statewide that were approved include $38.55 million for Issaquah, $25.26 million for Olympia and $24.5 million for Mercer Island.