Madison Elementary students will begin the school year on time but at temporary sites while their 14-year-old school undergoes emergency repairs, Olympia School District superintendent Dick Cvitanich announced Monday evening.
“We’re exploring facilities that are already classrooms,” he said during a public meeting for Madison families. “And frankly, some of them are lovely classrooms.”
The nearly 240-student school in Olympia’s Eastside neighborhood was scheduled for a new paint job this summer. However, while preparing for the work, crews found several cracks in the school’s exterior stucco; it led to the discovery of moisture damage in several areas of the building.
“We found that the strength of the building was compromised in many ways,” Cvitanich said.
It looks like the school could remain closed until January, he said. Until then, district officials are looking at the following plan:
* Sending preschool students to the Olympia Regional Learning Academy campus, which is at the old John Rogers School at 2001 26th Ave. NE, Olympia.
* Moving students in grades K-3 to classrooms to a local church. Right now, the district is in talks with two churches in the Madison neighborhood that have space available for the younger students, Cvitanich said.
*Busing students in grades 4-5 to Roosevelt Elementary School, 1417 San Francisco Ave. NE, Olympia. It’s an option that would allow older students participate in band, orchestra, PE and chorus programs, Cvitanich said. He said the district will probably host another meeting or send out an automated phone call with more details for families before the school year begins.
Madison parent Bobbi Stratton said her daughters, who are going into first- and second-grades, have been pretty sad as they’ve watched crews rip away the exterior of their school.
She said the meeting helped her feel better about the beginning of school, which is in about three weeks.
“I think it’s great that they have this plan in place,” Stratton added. “It makes me feel better, and it will make my kids feel better.”
Madison parent Faye Riley said she felt the same way.
“I feel reassured that it’s all going to work out,” she said.
Madison’s repairs will be paid with emergency funding available through the district’s Capital Facilities Fund, according to Cvitanich. At this point, the cost is undetermined.
Schwiesow Construction of Centralia was the lead contractor for the school which was built in 1999. According to Olympian archives, the school cost $5.8 million.
The firm also led the 2003 remodel of Knox Administrative Building which houses Avanti High School, according to district spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet.
Besides Madison, the district has a handful of other buildings with some form of stucco exterior, including Reeves Middle School and Roosevelt Elementary School, she said.
“We don’t have any indications of similar issues at our other buildings,” Japhet said.
Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 firstname.lastname@example.org @Lisa_Pemberton