August 13, 2019: The schematic design for Elementary #18 was reviewed and approved by the School Board. The board also passed Resolution 25 (18-19) certifying that Elementary School #18 will not create or aggravate racial imbalance. This resolution was part of the OSPI funding application process, in order to be placed on the waiting list for state match funds.
June 11, 2019: Bethel recently sold $150 million worth of bonds at $1.42 per thousand dollars of assessed value. Keeping our promise to taxpayers, this is the same rate that was shown in the voter’s pamphlet. We were planning for the possibility of higher interest rates (4.95%) during the sale, but the true interest cost at the time of sale was 2.94% This saved us $35 million in interest. This is the first set of bonds to be sold to fund the projects outlined in our voter-approved School Construction Bond. We are anticipating selling the next set in 2021.
June 11, 2019: The School Board has authorized the Superintendent and the Director of Construction and Planning to take such steps as necessary to conduct a feasibility evaluation of land for an elementary school site within Lipoma Communities, in coordination with legal counsel review as appropriate, and to engage such necessary engineering consultants to facilitate such evaluation.
May 16, 2019: The district’s bond rating was recently reevaluated, and we still stand strong with an Aa2 rating. Only six of the 295 districts in the entire state have a higher rating.
March 26, 2019: The bid for the Challenger High School Phase II project has been awarded to Christensen, Inc of Tumwater, Washington.
March 12, 2019: NAC Architecture of Seattle, Washington has been selected as the design team for the new Bethel High School.
Bond Project Update: March 2020
Just over a year ago, voters in our district approved a School Construction Bond that will build three brand new schools in the coming years. Money from the bond will also be used to renovate and expand five other schools. The first school, Elementary #18, will open its doors in the fall of 2021.
We didn’t start the fire
The new Bethel High School is slated to open to students in the fall of 2023. Much of the planning is on paper at this point, but a fire in February certainly put the future location of the new school on the map for local residents. There was an old house on the district-owned property that needed to be removed before any site work could begin. Superintendent Tom Seigel offered the building to Graham Fire & Rescue as a training ground, as long as when they were done, they would burn it to the ground.
For two months, Graham Fire trained in the house. They even invited students from the Pierce County Skills Center’s Fire Science program to join them for a few days of training. Those students also joined the firefighters on the final day, and got a front row seat to watch the structure burn to the ground.
Read more here.
Bond projects are heating up
Before we can build the New Bethel High School near 224th and 70th, there is an old house on the district-owned property that needs to come down.
Instead of knocking it down, the district invited Graham Fire & Rescue to use the house for training, which they have been doing since January.
In February, students from the Pierce County Skills Center’s Fire Science class joined the firefighters for training in the house.
At the end of this month, the training will come to an end when Graham Fire will burn the house to the ground on February 27. This will help pave the way for the new Bethel High School to be constructed. That school is set to open in the fall of 2023.
New BHS Value Engineering Report
The Value Engineering Report for the New Bethel High School was recently completed by Roen Associates. The nearly 300-page document reviewed the architect’s design and made recommendations for cost avoidance, cost verification and added value proposals. This report is required in order to get the new BHS project on the list for state matching funds.
To learn more, click here.
Elementary #18 to be named, new BHS schematics releasedIt’s been 11 months since voters overwhelmingly approved our School Construction Bond. The $443 million bond will fund the construction of three new schools, and will renovate and expand five others.
The first new school we build will be our first new elementary school in more than a decade. Elementary #18 will be 80,000 square feet, located on Waller Road just north of 176th St. E.
In December, a naming committee for the school was approved by the School Board. Made up of staff, parents and students, the committee will recommend names, mascots and colors for the new school to the School Board, who will make the final decision.
Save the Date!: The district will host a neighborhood Open House for communities in and around Elementary #18. The event is scheduled for January 22 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Clover Creek Elementary.
Construction of Elementary #18 will begin in April 2020.
Click here to read more
Bond Project Update : November 2019
The biggest school we’ve ever built
District unveils educational specifications for new BHS
“It’s the biggest building we’ve ever built,” Director of Construction Cathie Carlson said about the new Bethel High School. That building is one of the many bond projects currently in the works after voters overwhelmingly approved a School Construction Bond in February. At 250,000 square feet, the new high school will be ready for 1,800 students in classrooms, with room in portables for at least 250 more.
Carlson has led the charge on planning for the new high school since April, when her team began development on the Educational Specifications, a 76-page document that includes site analysis and facility concepts. Carlson called it, “our blueprint as we move forward in the design.”
Schematic designs for the new Bethel High are expected this winter.
To read more click here.
Bond Project Update : October 2019
Bethel’s “Housing Crisis”
Bond projects underway as district growth continues
The official October student count is in, and Bethel is now proudly home to nearly 21,000 students. That’s almost 500 more students than the same time last year.
Superintendent Tom Seigel said Bethel is in a “housing crisis” due to the rapid growth in our district. He has already ordered five more double portables — one for Bethel Middle School and four for Liberty Middle School— to help make room for our booming student population.
“When Pierce County initially proposed their ‘Centers and Corridors’ plan, the idea was to redirect the next 60,000 people to the Bethel, Franklin Pierce, and Puyallup school districts. We are already seeing incredible growth here in Bethel, with no end in sight,” Seigel said on Twitter.
To read more, click here.
Bond Project Update: September 2019
If you think traffic is worse than ever this school year, you might be onto something.
Our unofficial September student count confirms what we’ve been expecting, more families are moving in to our district, and that means more cars are on the road.
Schools like Nelson Elementary and Frontier Middle are already 100 students above their projections for this school year. That’s 100 extra kids for each already-crowded school.
That means more parents are on the roads, giving our 226 buses a run for their money. During this growing time, the district is encouraging parents to have their students ride the bus, instead of driving them to school, hoping it will help alleviate some of the traffic issues we are seeing around our schools.
If you are going to drive to school, be sure to use caution, and drop students off only in specified drop off locations. Dropping them off along the side of the road or elsewhere is not safe. Read more here.
Bond Project Update: AUGUST 2019
A bird’s eye view of Elementary #18
The school, which will be located on Waller road, north of 176th Street East, will house 700 students starting in the fall of 2021. The school will also have space for enough portables to house another 200 students in the future. When all is said and done, Elementary #18 will be the largest elementary school in the district.
Knowing this, and knowing the current challenges our schools have with traffic congestion, the new plans include a huge area for parents to pick up and drop off their students before and after school. This will help minimize the impact on the surrounding roads. There is also a large parking area planned, and the documents show spaces to park 17 school buses, as the location of the campus and lack of sidewalks, means few, if any students will be able to walk to school. To read more click here.
Bond Project Update: JULY 2019
In this month’s update, Bethel sells $150 million worth of bonds, Elementary #18 moves forward in planning, and Challenger High School Phase I kicks into high gear.
Elementary #18 Educational Specifications
This summer the School Board approved the Educational Specifications for Elementary #18. This 200-page document is available online and contains an incredible amount of details about the new building.
One thing we learned is that each kindergarten and 1st grade classroom in the school will have its own bathroom.
Elementary #18 will be larger than any of our other elementary schools, with room for 700 students in the building, and an additional 200 students in portables.
To read more, click here.
Bond Project Update: JUNE 2019
Bond Project Update: May 2019