Preparing for growth at the secondary level
District prepares for growth at the secondary level
Posted on 06/11/2018
District prepares for growth at the secondary level

In a report to the Puyallup School Board during a study session on May 25, Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello presented proposed expansion opportunities for secondary schools, which would include enhanced security and safety.

While student growth in the past five years has increased by nearly 1,500, most of the growth has been at the elementary level. Current projections show an additional increase of more than 1,300 students by 2023.

The voter approved 2015 School Construction and Facility Improvements Bond addresses the need for elementary school classroom space. It allows the district to replace Firgrove, Northwood, and Sunrise elementary schools, remodel Pope Elementary, add a 12 classroom addition to Hunt Elementary, and build the new Dessie F. Evans Elementary. The new and replacement schools are intended to relieve overcrowding from continued enrollment growth in the district’s elementary schools.

As students progress from elementary to junior high and on to high school, future facility enhancements will be needed to provide additional space for secondary students.

Now is the time for the district to begin preparing secondary schools to accommodate the more than 12,000 elementary students who will transition to junior high and high school in the coming years.

The report by Casello focused on:

   Plans for 2015 Bond Program State Matching Funds
   Potential Plans for a 2019 Bond Package

A key issue and consideration in developing a plan to add classroom space includes enhanced safety and security for secondary schools, which were built many years ago without some of  today’s safety and security concerns.

2015 Bond Program State Matching Funds

When districts build new schools, expand, or modernize existing schools they may be eligible for state matching funds from the School Construction Assistance Program.

Based on the state calculations, Puyallup School District has qualified for $77.5 million in matching state funds. The funds are expected to be allocated in July.

To be eligible for state assistance a school district must demonstrate local support for the project by raising local revenues. The voter approved 2015 School Construction and Facility Improvements bond projects have allowed the district to meet the requirements of the program.

At the study session, the school board was asked to consider using the state match funding to expand classroom space and increase safety and security in four junior highs, and construct a support campus on south hill. The projects presented focused on improvements and classroom additions at the following sites:

   Ballou Junior High
   Stahl Junior High
   Edgemont Junior High
   Ferrucci Junior High
   South Hill Support Campus (1501 39th Ave. SW, Puyallup)

2019 Proposed Bond Projects

The board commissioned a Bond Advisory Committee in April 2018 to study growth at the secondary level. They will begin to meet in June and are expected to continue through spring 2019. The committee is an advisory group to the board and will make recommendations regarding the possibility of the implementation of a 2019 bond program.

If approved by voters, the bond package would expand classroom space and increase safety and security at each of the districts high schools:

   Rogers High School
   Puyallup High School
   Emerald Ridge High School
   Walker High School

Continued updates can be found on the district’s Foundations For Our Future website.

Nancy French
frenchnl@puyallup.k12.wa.us