Extra attention is going into moisture control in the construction of North Thurston Public Schools’ fifth middle school, which is set to open in about a year.
That’s because a few of South Sound’s newer schools, including Madison Elementary School in Olympia and Black Hills High School in Tumwater, have dealt with major moisture issues during the past couple of years.
“We’re trying to learn from past mistakes,” Mike Laverty, district director of construction and design, said as he gave a tour of the new school last week. “We’ve just learned from our experience and others’ to tighten up the (building) envelope.”
A committee will be formed next month to come up with a name for the new school at 8605 Campus Glen Drive NE, Lacey, in the Meridian Campus development.
The $48 million, 109,000-square-foot school was designed by BCRA Architects in Tacoma. The project’s contractor is Babbit Neuman Construction Co. of Steilacoom. The school is funded by a 20-year, $175 million bond that voters approved in February 2014, which generated money for the new middle school, upgrades or modernization projects at five schools and other capital improvements in the district.
Crews broke ground March 30. Laverty said the project is on schedule.
“We’ve been the beneficiary of great weather,” he said. “So that’s been helpful too.”
Nisqually Middle School Principal Karen Owen will move over to lead the new school when it opens. She said her favorite elements of the school are its big windows; performance areas for band, orchestra and choir; and covered play area.
The school also will have a commons area, a main gym, an auxiliary gym and a pair of two-story classroom wings. The entrance will resemble Timberline High School, Laverty said.
“I just think it’s the most amazing hub for the community,” Owen said. “What a natural community gathering space.”
North Thurston acquired the 19.1-acre site in 2001, along with a nearly 11-acre site for a future elementary school, from the developer of Meridian Campus through a voluntary mitigation process so it was basically free to the district, Laverty said.
A boundary review committee has been working since spring to determine which neighborhoods will be served by the school. The public will have a chance to comment on recommendations, spokesperson Courtney Schrieve said.
“We could see a whole new high school area here,” Laverty said. “It could take 20 years.”