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Mount Si remodel under consideration; School board agrees freshman campus at SMS is temporary

Already debating another school bond and forging ahead with plans for a freshman campus, the Snoqualmie Valley School Board this fall committed to a third facilities exploration, remodeling Mount Si High School.

The exploration, proposed at a September work session of the board, is rooted in the assumption that the Freshman Learning Center, planned to open for the next school year in Snoqualmie Middle School, will be only temporarily housed at SMS.

"We as a board have, fair agreement, on a comprehensive 9-12 high school, grades 9 through 12, and that we also have fair agreement that a freshman concept using the SMS building was short-term, and long-term, that concept needs to be on the same campus," said school board member Carolyn Simpson, reporting on a meeting she, board vice-president Scott Hodgins, and Superintent Joel Aune had with NAC architects in September.

These were the scoping requirements that Simpson said she gave NAC Architecture (www.nacarchitecture.com) to consider in their site review, along with community and board agreement on a three-middle-school model, and an agreed-upon need to improve learning at the high school.

Aune said the goal of the site review would be, "The potential for the (Mount Si High School) site, in terms of renovation and expansion of the facility, could be more clearly defined in terms of what the feasibility might be."

Following the report from Simpson and Hodgins, the board authorized Aune to contract with NAC for a "level 1 site analysis" if their estimate was $50,000 or less.

In the past six years, the district has seen several attempts to address crowding, but current and projected, at the high school, but voters rejected three separate $200 million bond attempts, in 2007 and 2008, to build a second high school.

"The purpose of the study… is to assess and evaluate the potential of the Mount Si High School site for renovation and expansion of the facility," Aune said.

Matt Rumbaugh, with NAC, presented the initial findings of his company's analysis at the Thursday, Nov. 8, board meeting, and said a more detailed report would be presented to the board at its Thursday, Nov. 29, meeting, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Snoqualmie City Hall.

His report for the evening covered the development limitations of the high school site, which is in a floodway, as well as city zoning and code limitations, and classroom-use levels, which ranged from 91 percent for teaching and prep time for some classrooms, to 71 or 67 percent for the specialized rooms, such as science labs and the gym.

Rumbaugh said that based on an average classroom use of 80 percent, the capacity of the current building is about 1,600 students, which includes the capacity of the 20 portables, 19 of which are used for teaching, already on-site.

He also noted that city zoning placed height restrictions on the building, which could affect the project since the remodel might require three stories, up to a total of 50 feet high. Parking requirements followed and a fairly detailed discussion of the flood-proofing requirements for buildings within the floodway.

Although more information is expected Nov. 29, Aune noted that a final report might not be complete until January.

 

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