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School Board Vetting Preliminary Bond Proposal for Expanding and Improving Facilities

The Snoqualmie Valley School Board of Directors has been discussing the possibility of a bond proposal for a future election date. Last spring, the School Board hosted six focus group discussions in which approximately 150 citizens from around the district participated. The Board presented three scenarios at each of the meetings – referred to as Options A, B and C – then facilitated small group discussions, weighing perceived pros and cons of each scenario and gathering a wide range of feedback. Since then, the Board has narrowed their focus and initiated a thorough vetting process of what has been previously referred to as “Option A” — a comprehensive, long-term solution to address the district’s capacity and program needs for ten or more years into the future.
Several meetings were held in December as part of the process for vetting the preliminary bond proposal (formerly Option A). The purpose of the meetings was to educate, inform, and gather feedback from community members and staff to determine if this proposal is the right one for the Snoqualmie Valley School District. As a next step, the School Board plans to discuss this feedback at the January 9 school board meeting. 
Preliminary Bond Proposal Currently Under Consideration
There are three elements to this proposal:
  1. Rebuild and Expand Mount Si High School. The Board has been discussing a plan to completely rebuild and expand Mount Si High School. This plan would raise Mount Si High School above King County’s designated floodway levels, flood-proof other portions of the building, provide more space designed to promote 21st Century teaching and learning, create parking underneath the elevated facility, and develop facilities and capacity for the return of the freshman to the main campus. The new 3-story school would be designed to serve up to 2,100 students. The process for design, permitting, and construction would take place in phases over an eight-year period. If a bond is approved by the voters in 2014, the first phase of construction could be completed by 2018, with phase two finished by the fall of 2021. When the high school construction phasing reaches an appropriate point, ninth graders will return to the main campus and the current Freshman Campus (which opened this fall at the former SMS location) would be converted back to a middle school. The cost estimate to rebuild and expand Mount Si High School is approximately $160,000,000.  View a preliminary design sketch of possible high school construction phases.
  2. Construct a 6th Elementary School. To adequately serve a growing student population, it is projected that our school district will need a sixth elementary school by 2016. A state mandate for full-day kindergarten, anticipated funding from the state to reduce class size at the elementary level, and continued enrollment growth are the primary factors driving the need for a sixth elementary school. The new elementary school would be constructed on property the district already owns in Snoqualmie. This elementary school would be similar in design to Cascade View Elementary, at an estimated cost of $35,350,000. View a preliminary design sketch of proposed elementary #6.
  3. Improvements to Existing Schools. Maintaining and preserving the infrastructure, operations and safety of school buildings across the district requires upgrading or replacing aging systems that are reaching the end of their useful life. Some of the most urgent and significant needs include replacing roofs at four schools (NBE, SES, FCE and Freshman Campus); replacing and expanding the septic system at Fall City Elementary; safety and security enhancements at ALL schools; expanding the gym/commons at Snoqualmie Elementary; and, adding a Preschool Center at Elementary School #6 to free up classroom space at Opstad Elementary and Snoqualmie Elementary. The estimated cost for these projects is approximately $20,185,000.
Estimated costs: The total cost of this preliminary bond proposal is estimated to be $215,535,000. The estimated tax rate for this proposition is $2.24 per $1,000 assessed property valuation.
Community & Staff Meetings: In December, the public was invited to attend four community meetings, and staff were offered three additional meetings. The purpose of the meetings was to share information about the preliminary bond proposition, to provide an opportunity to ask questions, and to solicit feedback from citizens and staff. Feedback from these meetings will help the Board determine if this proposal is the right plan for our schools and define next steps in the review process. The same content was shared at each of these meetings:
  • Community Meeting #1: December 10 @ 6:30 pm—Mount Si High School Library
  • Community Meeting #2: December 12 @ 12:30 pm—District Office 
  • Community Meeting #3: December 12 @ 6:30 pm—Chief Kanim Middle School
  • Community E-Meeting #4: December 17 @ 6:30 pm —online
  • Staff Meeting #1 (All SVSD employees): December 9 @ 4:00 pm—District Office
  • Staff Meeting #2 (MSHS staff only): December 10 @ 2:30 pm—MSHS Library
  • Staff Meeting #3 (All SVSD employees): December 11 @ 3:00 pm—MSHS Library
We appreciate your interest and time to learn about and share your thoughts on these important decisions concerning your Snoqualmie Valley schools.