Sequim schools’ future eyed tonight at facilities meeting

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– A special committee charged with reviewing the future needs of the Sequim School District’s facilities will present its recommendations to the public at a meeting at 6 tonight.

The committee is recommending the construction of a new elementary school east of downtown, a remodel and expansion of Greywolf Elementary in Carlsborg, a renovation of the high school to make it one contained building and a rebuilding of the district’s athletic facilities, according to Brian Lewis, business manager for the district.

Meeting in library

The meeting will be in the Sequim High School library, 601 N. Sequim Ave.

“We’re not going to be unveiling plans or anything, but the committee is going to present what it thinks we should do,” Lewis said.

The 15-member committee of parents, retirees and business owners has been meeting since April to outline the district’s future facilities needs.

They have been meeting with BLRB Architects of Tacoma, a firm that specializes in school designs.

Earlier this month, the district held a meeting in the Helen Haller Elementary gymnasium to outline the committee’s work to that point.

Since then, Lewis said, the committee has decided to recommend the district pursue its slate of construction projects.

Construction bond

Based on feedback from tonight’s meeting, Superintendent Kelly Shea will decide whether to take the recommendations to the School Board for a possible construction bond measure.

The elementary school would replace Helen Haller Elementary, built in 1972.

The Haller campus is pushing its capacity. That lack of space was a factor in the board’s decision not to offer all-day kindergarten for this school year, as there would be nowhere to teach the additional students.

The decision to build a new school east of the 55-acre main campus was made with growth in mind, Lewis said.

Enrollment rise

While many North Olympic Peninsula schools have seen declining enrollment, Sequim’s has actually risen slightly in recent years with expectations of another 300 students moving into the district by 2020.

Much of the district’s growth has come on the east end of town, which has pushed the boundary to send elementary students to Greywolf or Helen Haller to just five blocks west of the Haller campus, a 6.5-mile bus ride for some.

At the earlier meeting, district officials expressed concern over student safety and campus security at both Haller and the high school, built in 1968, because of their open-campus designs, Shea said. Both schools are made up of separate pods of classrooms accessible from the street.

Greywolf, at 171 Carlsborg Road, also is running out of classroom space, though it was built to be added onto.

The committee’s proposal includes construction of more classrooms and a gym at Greywolf.

For more information, phone the district office at 360-582-3260 or email Lewis at blewis@sequim.k12.wa.us.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 29. 2013 5:47PM
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