The first glimpse of Sequim School District’s new central kitchen appear from North Second Avenue and West Alder Street where the 1949 portions of the Sequim Community School once stood. (Erin Hawkins/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

The first glimpse of Sequim School District’s new central kitchen appear from North Second Avenue and West Alder Street where the 1949 portions of the Sequim Community School once stood. (Erin Hawkins/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim School District’s new kitchen set to open January

SEQUIM — Sequim School District is set to start off the new year with a new modern central kitchen facility.

Craig Fulton, project director of Vanir Construction Management, Inc., told the School Board on Monday that the kitchen should be ready by the end of January.

The kitchen’s roof has been placed, the outside of the building has been sealed in and more kitchen equipment is arriving at the site each week, he said.

“We hope that things continue going the way they are now,” said Gary Neal, Sequim Schools superintendent.

The facility is designed to be a 4,080-square-foot commercial kitchen with new and modern equipment, a new freezer and cooler space configuration.

Fulton said the demolition of the 1949 portions of the Sequim Community School is complete — as piles of dirt and rubble can be seen along West Fir Street and North Second Avenue — and the site will be leveled and ready for a future building.

He acknowledged there were some unexpected challenges along the way: underground utility tunnels and concrete were found underneath the old school that needed to be demolished, and a backlog for wood trusses are needed for the roof.

However, Fulton said, Vanir is pushing to have the kitchen complete by January.

Steve McIntire, the school district’s former finance and operations manager, reported to the board that the project so far is within budget. The project cost was originally budgeted at about $5,366,807 — after the district’s second non-voted issue was complete — and the actual total cost and estimated costs to finish are projected at $5,346,484.

The remaining funds for future commitments and project completion are about $20,322.

The installment of a fire suppression system for Olympic Peninsula Academy’s (OPA) six portables is ongoing, Fulton said; the system has been designed and sent to the City of Sequim for permitting, which Fulton said he anticipates will be complete by January.

School Board director Robin Henrikson asked Fulton if a bathroom system was planned to be implemented for OPA, but Fulton said there are no plans for it and it is up to the district if it wants to do so.

Board reorganization

The board had its annual office of oath swearing in ceremony with Judge Erik Rohrer, though nothing changed as far as the board members’ roles.

President Brian Kuh was nominated by director Jim Stoffer for president followed by a unanimous vote to keep his title, and the same sentiment was felt for Vice President Heather Short with a unanimous vote to keep her title, too.

Stoffer remains the board’s legislative representative, director Brandino Gibson continues to be the WIAA representative and director Henrikson also remains the student board representative liaison.

The board approved at second reading updated policies regarding board member residencies, resignation and vacancies, and at first reading updated policies for board officers, duties of board members and the school director legislative program.

The next school board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Jan. 7 at the district boardroom, 503 N. Sequim Ave.

A public bond and levy workshop is set from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 14, with the place for the meeting to be determined, Neal said.

________

Erin Hawkins is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at ehawkins@sequimgazette.com.

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