Mount Si explores new commons

A depiction shows the proposed new Mount Si High School commons. Early plans call for a student dining area in what is now a courtyard. -
A depiction shows the proposed new Mount Si High School commons. Early plans call for a student dining area in what is now a courtyard.
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Walking down Mount Si High School’s hallways during lunchtime is like running an obstacle course.

Clusters of students clutter the halls. With the school’s common area filled past capacity, Mount Si allows them to eat in certain hallways, because there is nowhere else to put them.

However, Snoqualmie Valley School District is exploring a proposal to add a new commons area to the high school as early as next year by enclosing an outdoor courtyard, which is encircled by classrooms.

The proposal would double Mount Si High School’s commons area and alleviate overcrowding, according to the school’s principal, Randy Taylor.

Last week, Taylor presented the idea to the district’s board of directors.

The enclosed space could serve as a multipurpose facility, and would improve traffic flow in the school, he said.

The district has drawn up preliminary plans for the change, and is still determining the plan’s feasibility, said Joel Aune, district superintendent.

The district expects to make a recommendation to the school board at its next meeting, Thursday, Feb. 26.

“We wouldn’t be standing out here in the cold, looking at drawings if it wasn’t a legitimate idea, but it still isn’t a done deal,” Aune said while standing in the open-air courtyard with a school board member and media.

Proceeding with the proposal is partially contingent on the results of the school bond on March 10, according to Aune.

The district has enough money in its capital projects fund to finance the project’s $1.8 million projected cost, according to Ron Ellis, the school district’s financial officer.

However, if the bond fails, those capital funds might have to be used for repairs and upgrades covered by the bond.

If the board expedites the project, it could be finished in 12 to 18 months.

The adjacent classrooms would not be seriously affected by any construction, according to Taylor.

Preliminary plans call for a raised roof, which would utilize natural light and maintain the courtyard’s existing view of Mount Si.

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