Bond Update: September 2021
The latest news on our current and future bond projects!
Bonds are for building, levies are for learning
All the progress we report on each month is thanks to our voters, who approved the School Construction Bond back in February of 2019. Bond elections are needed in Washington because local school districts are still responsible for the majority of the cost to build new schools and fix old ones.
It is with great thanks to the voters in our area that we are able to build new schools, and fix and expand others.
Next year, our district will have two levies up for renewal. These levy dollars are separate from the 2019 bond. Our Educational Programs and Operations Levy was last renewed in 2018. It helps pay for critical things like special education programs and extra transportation costs — items the state does not fully fund. Our Technology Levy funds our iPad program that helped our district transition quickly to online learning during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bond Update: August 2021
Latest info on 5 major bond projects…and more!
Thank you, voters!
All the progress we report on each month is thanks to our voters, who approved the School Construction Bond back in February 2019. Bond elections are needed in Washington because local school districts are still responsible for the majority of the cost to build new schools and fix old ones. It is with great thanks to the voters in our area that we are able to build new schools, and fix and expand others.
Bond Project Update: July 2021
Work begins on Challenger High School Phase II
Bonds are for Building …
With summer in full swing, our bond projects continue to move forward, with some projects wrapping up, and others getting underway. All the progress we report on each month is thanks to our voters, who approved the School Construction Bond back in 2019. Bond elections are needed in Washington because local school districts are still responsible for the majority of the cost to build new schools and fix old ones. Click here to read more.
Bond Update: June 2021
School is out, but construction continues!
Summer is officially upon us, and the weather’s not the only thing heating up in the district. Our planning and construction teams continue to make amazing progress on a host of ongoing bond projects. Click here to read more.
Elementary #19 Update: Rainier Ridge at Lipoma CommunitiesIn February 2019, the voters of the district approved a capital bond. Along with the construction of Katherine G. Johnson Elementary and other projects, it included the acquisition of land for and the construction of new schools to provide for needed student capacity at the elementary school level.The School Board recently adopted a resolution to authorize the Superintendent to execute a real estate purchase and sale agreement for an elementary school site within Rainier Ridge at Lipoma Communities.The District Administration determined that the approximate 1,700 unit residential development under construction, now known as Rainier Ridge at Lipoma Communities, located east of the intersection of 187th Street East and Meridian Avenue East, and within the boundaries of the district, has an appropriate location of sufficient acreage to accommodate an elementary school.
Bond Projects Update: May 2021Katherine G. Johnson Elementary updateThe days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and we’re getting closer and closer to finishing construction on our 18th elementary school, Katherine G. Johnson Elementary.In April, our construction team installed roofing on the school’s administrative area. They also installed windows and casework in the A-Wing and worked on framing, plumbing and electrical in the G-Wing, among a host of other projects. The crew will soon finish installing acoustical ceiling panels throughout the school.Learn more about Katherine G. Johnson Elementary and the rest of our latest bond projects here.
New schools getting flexible learning furniture
Both Katherine G. Johnson Elementary and our new Bethel Early Learning Center will utilize flexible learning spaces full of unique furniture.Unlike standard classrooms where furniture remains in place and teachers instruct from the front of the class, the new furniture will allow both students and teachers to move and combine work areas. Other changes include desks that can be easily rearranged, softer seats, “sofa chairs” that give students a place for group work, and mobile teaching stations that allow teachers to quickly adjust to the changing learning space.Learn more about the furniture and the rest of our latest bond projects here.
Bond Projects Update: March 2021
Brand new Naches Trail Elementary to open in fall of 2023
We’re excited to announce that Naches Trail Elementary students will have a brand new school in the fall of 2023.
After crunching the numbers and going over all of their options, the district’s planning and construction teams have come to the conclusion that it will be safer, more cost effective, and more practical to build a brand new Naches Trail.
The project, which is part of the voter-approved 2019 School Construction Bond, was originally slated to be a complete remodel and expansion, but a cost analysis determined it would be it would more expensive to modernize the current Naches Trail than it would be to build a new school.
A similar determination was made during the planning stages of the Thompson, Spanaway, and Clover Creek elementary remodels. Those schools where originally scheduled to be expanded and remodeled as part of our 2006 bond, but all were rebuilt entirely for similar reasons.
Originally built in 1979, Naches Trail is one of our oldest elementaries. The school received some facility improvements in 1997, but the student population has outgrown the building and 14 portable classrooms that are now being used on campus.
Bond Project Update: February 2021This summer, updates to a Pierce County Stormwater Manual are scheduled to be adopted that will delay the opening date for the new Bethel High School.The original timeline for opening the new school was September 2023. Changes to the Pierce County Stormwater regulations will delay opening until 2024 or 2025.The updates to the Pierce County Stormwater Manual’s regulations reflect the evolution of “best available science” and have resulted in development standards that are different than when the District purchased the property in 2009.The changes to the Stormwater Manual include new more stringent threshold methodologies to determine if the site’s stormwater could impact a “Category 1 Wetland,” which is located in the southeast corner of the new Bethel High School site.The District has already begun work to study the movement of the site’s groundwater, but the process can take up to one year. If it takes a full year, the opening of the school could be pushed back to the fall of 2025.“Of course, we’re disappointed that new regulations will delay the opening of a much needed school in our growing community,” said Superintendent Tom Seigel. “But Bethel School District works very hard to be good stewards of the environment, and we will continue to protect our natural resources, and in so doing, set an example for our students.”Read about our other ongoing projects here.
Bond Project Update: January 2021
As we enter 2021, we can now officially say that Katherine G. Johnson Elementary is scheduled to open to students THIS YEAR!
Our amazing construction crews have been busy at the site for months, and their hard work is paying off. This month crews are putting roofing on the school’s A wing, adding insulation, electrical wiring and plumbing in the B wing, and pouring concrete and framing the G wing.
It’s been an exciting journey since we broke ground on the school last June on Waller Road between Military and 176th. In July the school was officially named in honor of the extraordinary American mathematician who calculated and analyzed the flight paths of spacecraft during her more than three decades with the U.S. space program.
Bond Project Update: December 2020
As we head into 2021, it’s a good time to reflect on all the progress we’ve made on our bond projects this year. The largest project was the new Katherine G. Johnson Elementary, which broke ground in June on Waller Road between Military and 176th.
In July the school was officially named in honor of the extraordinary American mathematician who calculated and analyzed the flight paths of spacecraft during her more than three decades with the U.S. space program.
As summer turned to fall, our construction teams continued to make progress on the school, transforming a raw piece of land into a campus that will soon be capable of comfortably educating 700 students, with space for enough portables to house another 200 students on site.
Bond Project Update: November 2020
Even as we head into another cold and wet winter, our ongoing bond projects won’t be slowing down.
Construction crews continue to make great progress on our newest school, Katherine G. Johnson Elementary. This month plumbing, electrical, and HVAC work was done on both the A and B wings of the school. Additionally, roof rafters and sheet roof were installed on the school’s B wing. The first round of vinyl windows were also installed this month.
Bond Project Update: October 2020
With each passing month we’re getting closer to finishing our newest school, Katherine G. Johnson Elementary.
Construction crews continue to make amazing progress at the site, located on Waller Road between Military and 176th. The roof on the school’s A wing is now fully installed and workers can begin the process of putting in electrical wiring. The roof on the B wing should be installed in the next two weeks.
Earlier this month we held a COVID-delayed ceremonial groundbreaking at the site, where members of our School Board got a chance to reflect on the project.
Bond Project Update: September 2020
Fall is in the air, but the colder temperatures and rainier days haven’t stopped us from moving forward on a number of exciting bond projects.
Our largest current project is the new Katherine G. Johnson Elementary School, and we couldn’t be happier with the progress we’re making. This month our construction crews worked on plumbing and framing in the school’s A- and B-wings, as well as pouring concrete in the G-wing. They also worked on the school’s sewer and stormwater systems and began installing floor joists and electrical work throughout the project. Read more here.
Bond Project Update: August 2020
Katherine G. Johnson Elementary
It’s been another exciting month at the new Katherine G. Johnson Elementary construction site.
Located on Waller Road between Military at 176th, the school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021 and be home to 700 students. It will also have space for enough portables to house another 200 students. Because of the way the state funds school construction, we can’t build schools to accommodate future growth, if we want to still be eligible for matching funds.
Bond Update: July 2020Katherine G. Johnson ElementaryWe are thrilled to announce that our newest school will honor a true American hero who represents the passion, knowledge, and bravery we strive to instill in all Bethel students.At its Tuesday meeting, the Bethel School Board voted unanimously to christen our eighteenth elementary school Katherine G. Johnson Elementary.For those who don’t know, Katherine G. Johnson was an American mathematician who calculated and analyzed the flight paths of spacecraft during her more than three decades with the U.S. space program. Among many other accomplishments, her groundbreaking work helped send astronauts to the moon as part of 1969’s Apollo 11 mission.Her life and work were celebrated in the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures.”Learn more about Johnson and the naming process here .
Bond Project Update: June 2020
Construction is underway at Elementary #18
School scheduled to open in Fall 2021
Construction has officially begun on our 18th elementary school! In the video above you’ll get a drone’s eye view of the work site.
Located on Waller Road, in between Military at 176th, the school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021 and be home to 700 students. It will also have space for enough portables to house another 200 students. Because of the way the state funds school construction, we can’t build schools to accommodate future growth, if we want to still be eligible for matching funds.
Clic here to read more.
Bond Update: May 2020
Bond Refinancing Saves Taxpayers Over $5.3 Million
The Bethel School District has taken advantage of low bond interest rates to save taxpayers money. A recent refinancing authorized by the Board of Directors will result in savings of $5,373,353 for taxpayers over the next seven years.
“This was a great opportunity to demonstrate good fiscal stewardship and save our taxpayers a significant amount of money,” said Superintendent Tom Seigel. He emphasized that the savings will go directly to taxpayers through lower future tax collections.
“This is money that will now stay in our community and local economy, rather than go to pay interest on outstanding bonds.
The savings will also help the district promote future tax rate stability as it sells the remaining bonds approved by voters in 2019,” said Seigel.
The district garnered a rate of 1.43% on the new bonds. This compares to 4.00% on the bonds being refinanced.
Read entire article here.
Bond Project Update: April 2020
Clearing the way for 900 students
Land is being cleared on the district-owned Waller Road property that will soon be home to our 18th elementary school. When completed, the school will house 700 students starting in the fall of 2021.
Elementary #18 will also have space for enough portables to house another 200 students to accommodate future growth. Because of the way the state funds school construction, we can’t build schools to accommodate future growth, if we want to still be eligible for matching funds. Read more here.
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