Space is at a premium at Centennial Elementary School in Olympia.
During the school week, the band class rotates between the music room it shares with the orchestra, the gymnasium it shares with physical education classes, and the multipurpose room that’s also used as the lunch room.
Before each class, the band teacher and students move chairs, music stands and a piano to the right location.
“It’s a combination of teacher power and kid power to get the room set up,” principal Shannon Ritter said.
Never miss a local story.
A so-called “mini-building” with seven to 11 classrooms, including a permanent home for Centennial’s band and orchestra programs, are included in a capital improvement plan that’s being considered by the Olympia School Board.
The board will have a second reading of the proposed bond request Monday night and is expected to vote on a resolution that would place the 10-year, $161 million bond measure on February’s ballot.
“The requests respond to two very significant needs,” Olympia superintendent Dick Cvitanich said. “One is the increased and predicted enrollment in the school district, and the second is in response to Initiative 1351 that calls for reduced class size at the elementary.”
According to district documents, major costs and projects outlined in the proposed bond package include:
▪ $71.5 million for remodeling projects at McLane, Roosevelt and Centennial elementary schools. The projects are eligible for about $12 million in state matching construction grants.
▪ $29.4 million for additional classrooms at McLane, Roosevelt, Centennial, Pioneer and Hansen elementary schools.
Each school would receive a two-story permanent mini-building with classrooms that are not part of the remodeling projects.
In addition to adding classroom space, the mini-buildings would help the district reduce its use of portable classroom buildings, school district spokeswoman Susan Gifford said.
“It’s much better safety and security wise to have kids in one building,” she said.
The district also plans to set aside $7.7 million for a mini-building with the location to be determined later, based on enrollment demands. The likely location would be McKenny Elementary or Washington Middle School, because housing developments are planned in that area.
▪ $24.3 million to replace portables at Olympia High School with a new, expanded building. A two-story building featuring 22 classrooms including science labs, space for administration, and a commons area would be constructed behind the stadium and baseball fields.
▪ Nearly $18 million to remodel and expand Avanti High School, and to relocate the district administration.
The district would remodel the second and third floors of the Knox Building — which now houses both Avanti and the administration — and update the restrooms, kitchen and science labs.
The administration, staff training center and warehouse would move to The Olympian building at 111 Bethel St. NE, which would get a light remodel and an updated HVAC system. The district has been in negotiations for months to buy the 53,000-square-foot building occupied by the newspaper staff; if a sale goes through, The Olympian staff would relocate to a different site in the city.
The cost to remodel Avanti is $9.9 million; the cost to purchase the building and move district administration is $7.8 million.
▪ $20.6 million to remodel portions of Capital High School and update its windows, roofing and siding.
▪ $12.7 million to build a new, bigger performing arts center at Capital High School.
The existing theater seats 350 and is not big enough for performances for the 1,300-student body or even one of its grade levels, Cvitanich said. The current theater would be turned into a lecture hall.
▪ $10.7 million for multiple small projects around the district, many of which address some type of health and safety or code enforcement need.
▪ $8.5 million for heating, air conditioning and ventilation improvements at Capital, Olympia, Madison, Hansen, LP Brown, Boston Harbor, McKenny, Reeves and Jefferson schools. Energy efficient lighting systems would be installed at Hansen, Lincoln and Madison elementary schools. Solar panels would be added to the Olympia Regional Learning Academy, which was designed to use them. The district would apply for grants to potentially reduce a portion of the costs.
▪ $6.9 million for an artificial turf soccer field at Pioneer and an artificial turf football and soccer field at Capital High School, along with renovations at eight other fields in the district.
▪ $2 million for centralized door-locking systems at schools that aren’t scheduled to be remodeled, or haven’t undergone a recent modernization.
▪ $1.6 million to replace the roof at Marshall Middle School, and $250,000 to repair or replace the roof at Madison or LP Brown elementary schools.
▪ $520,000 to demolish the John Rogers School building. The empty facility is more than 50 years old, and would need major renovations to be used to house students.
▪ $450,000 to install security cameras or support other school safety measures.
The bond request package was put together with recommendations from a 16-member citizen advisory committee.
“The process was about having the public represented as community members to learn about the current infrastructure of the Olympia School District,” said Keith Michel, a senior project manager for Forma Construction and chairman of the Facilities Advisory Committee.
The committee examined 120 capital facilities requests from around the district, from smaller projects such as worn out HVAC systems and broken casework in a classroom to big projects such as field improvements and adding a new wing to a school, Michel said.
The group focused largely on analyzing conditions of the facilities and enrollment growth projections for the district, he said. They also had to find ways to support class size reduction efforts, he said.
With 513 students, Centennial is the largest elementary school in the district, Gifford said. It was built in 1989 for 398 students, and has seven portables on its campus.
School officials use creative ways to make the most of their space. The door was taken off of a closet in the special education classroom and the space is now used for small group instruction, Ritter said. A storage area in the library doubles as a teaching space for English Language Learners groups.
“Every space is being used,” Ritter said. “We’ve got conference rooms that are doubled and tripled up.”
Community use of district facilities also were a factor in the recommendations, Michel said. The city of Olympia’s Parks, Arts and Recreation programs use several of the district’s facilities, including its soccer fields, he said. The committee tried to look at ways projects could benefit both the district and the greater community, he added.
Tax rates also played a large role in the committee’s decisions, Michel said.
“Everybody in the room was a taxpayer, so there was a very real knowledge of we don’t want to endorse actions of the district if that results in extra taxes,” he said.
In addition to considering recommendations from the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee, the district also collected public input on construction needs during a series of community forums earlier this year, Cvitanich said.
If the School Board approves the proposal for the bond, it would go on the ballot at the same time as an already-planned maintenance and operations levy measure, Gifford said.
IF YOU GO
The Olympia School Board will consider a proposal to place a bond measure on February’s ballot during its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at McLane Elementary School, 200 Delphi Road SW, Olympia. For more information on the projects that are being considered for the measure, go to www.osd.wednet.edu.