An artist’s rendering of the new elementary school to be built in Port Townsend.

An artist’s rendering of the new elementary school to be built in Port Townsend.

Design is approved for new Port Townsend school

Grant Street Elementary is expected to open in 2018.

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend School Board has approved the design and budget for a new, 68,000-square-foot Grant Street Elementary School, which is expected to open in 2018.

The master budget for the project to replace Grant Street Elementary at 1637 Grant St. and make improvements to Port Townsend High School was presented Monday.

The new design provides connected outdoor and indoor learning spaces.

“It will allow us to bring learning outside and allow it to be interactive,” said Superintendent John Polm. “We think it’s something that will work well.”

Classrooms will have movable walls to allow for groups of students to work together more easily. Also planned is a garden and teaching kitchen for classes based on the district’s wellness and nutrition initiatives, Polm said.

“It’s kind of unique and responsive to community interests,” Polm said.

Construction of the new school on the current athletic field, a raised area behind the Grant Street school, is expected to begin next spring.

Construction of the new school is budgeted at $26.5 million, with construction at the high school planned to cost $750,000.

The total cost of the new school — including permit fees, furnishings and other costs — is $40,085,000. For both projects, the total cost will be $41,166,632.

Funds will come primarily from a $40.9 million bond voters approved in February to fund construction of the new elementary school and make improvements to Port Townsend High.

The new school will be twice the size of the current Grant Street school and will house students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Fourth and fifth grades will move to the new school, and Blue Heron Middle School will adopt the traditional middle school configuration of sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

The current building, built in 1956, doesn’t support the current student population, school officials have said. The district has had to use portable classroom units to house classrooms for several years.

Enrollment at the school now is roughly 300 students, kindergarten through third grade, in 14 classrooms. It also houses a prekindergarten and two alternative education programs.

It is being built to accommodate 600 students. Polm said 500 students are expected the first year.

Once the new school is constructed, the old school will be demolished, allowing for no students to be displaced or miss school during the transition.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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