Replacement of four Port Angeles schools to be discussed this week

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The School Board will hear recommendations about replacing four aging schools at a meeting this week.

The board’s Long-Range Facilities Planning Task Force report will be discussed by the board at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Port Angeles School District Central Services Building, 216 E. Fourth St.

The 60-member task force was asked to examine existing school properties, enrollment projections, educational models and other factors to recommend the best ways for the district to continue in the 21st century.

The task force examined several models, including banded schools that split elementary schools into primary (K-2) and elementary (3-6) schools, combining elementary and middle schools into K-8 schools, and whether the sixth grade should be located in a elementary school or a middle school.

Task force teams visited or spoke with representatives of other school districts using those models.

They also examined how to most effectively use building design to enhance learning.

Final decisions on replacing Port Angeles High School, Stevens Middle School, Hamilton and Franklin elementary school buildings will be made by the School Board.

All four schools were built to house the burgeoning baby boomer generation, and were designed to be replaced after 30 years.

Each of the schools was remodeled and upgraded in the 1970s or ’80s.

Maintenance costs of the aging schools is a significant and growing portion of the district’s budget, and the cost of remodeling the buildings to meet current standards is about the same cost as replacement, district officials have said.

In 2008, the district estimated that the replacement cost of the four schools would be about
$70 million.

Only half of the cost would be paid for by the state.

District studies have indicated that the cost can be reduced by building two- or three-story schools, and by combining Hamilton and Stevens on the Stevens property, then selling the Hamilton property.

The Fairview school property in eastern Port Angeles is valued at $904,000 and has been listed for sale.

It was closed in 2007.

A state inspection completed in 2007 determined that the four schools fall below state standards for security, electrical and plumbing systems, seismic stability, roofing, window and energy efficiency, and fire protection and detection.

They also don’t meet federal laws for the disabled.

Hamilton buildings scored 41.5 percent out of a 100-point grading system for the main building and 37 percent for its 1978 addition.

Franklin buildings scored 27.5 percent for the main building and 55 percent for an 1978 addition.

Stevens’ main building scored 34 percent, and the gymnasium scored 33 percent.

Port Angeles High School’s 10 classroom buildings scored between 25.5 percent and 56.4 percent.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 09. 2013 6:17PM
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