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School district, Tulalip Tribes break ground for new school
TULALIP The Marysville School District got a late but welcome start last weekend to a new campus that will house three different schools on one combined campus next to Quil Ceda Elementary School on 27th Avenue NE.
Members of the school board and the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors held a solemn ground breaking at a 40-acre site once planned for a new comprehensive high school.
Now the sandy lot just south of the elementary school is slated to house the Marysville Arts & Technology High School, the Tulalip Heritage High School and the 10th Street School. Each will have its own prefabricated, modular building being constructed at a Smokey Point factory, and the trio will share a 12,000-square-foot gymnasium and cafeteria. The joint venture received the solemn blessing of Tribal leaders while a group of four eagles circled overhead.
Shelly Lacy is the Tribes general manager and she said a brief prayer in the Lushootseed language before the board members used golden shovels to turn over a ceremonial spade of earth. She said that during a spiritual blessing the day before those tribal ancestors said they were pleased.
Our ancestors sent a prayer for all the people who are going to work on the site, Lacy said. The message was that the land was happy that the school is going to be here and that the land is going to remain green.
Newly-elected Tribal chairman Mel Sheldon, Jr. opened with one of his trademark groaners but got real serious as he explained how he liked the mixing chamber the combined campus will be, as older students from the two high schools will interact and mentor kids from the middle school and elementary school next door.
I think the benefits of that will be untold, Sheldon said. Everything came together to where its supposed to be today. Today a new chapter of the Quil is being written and its a wonderful chapter.
The campus will house about 700 students in the three schools; about 400 at A&T, up to 100 at Heritage and 10th Street with the rest. The new, larger quarters will allow all three to grow. Currently A&T has about 230 students in leased quarters a mile away on the Rez, Heritage has 50 students in portables next to Tulalip Elementary School and 10th Street has about 170 students in grades six through eight in portables at a former YMCA site in downtown Marysville.
Their new home will also be portables of a sort, but the modular tag is applied to the buildings that will be carted to the site later this summer. They are being built at the Williams Scotsman plant in Smokey Point, and after the ground breaking ceremony some of the board members toured the plant where some of the structures are already completed. The entire project was to open this fall, but regulatory delays have put the Heritage and 10th Street projects behind. The gymnasium will be built with conventional methods and should be ready for school in September, and the A&T campus will open as planned then too. Thats important because the district needs every available seat for its 3,800 high school students, who are being channeled into smaller learning communities starting next fall. Marysville Arts & Technology is arguably the oldest of these, and is slated to expand in the new digs.
The funding of the campus is a story in itself, and promises to be a model that many other school districts will likely copy, according to district leaders. Because the three schools are comprised of modular structures they wont count against funds the state provides for un-housed students, since those students will still be in portables. They will be nice portables and a the new Grove Elementary School will include two wings of modular structures that will blend into the stick-built building. The combined options campus components are modular but will be permanently anchored to concrete foundations and are built to last at least 30 years.
Superintendent Larry Nyland emphasized that the campus is being built without district taxpayer money, as the funds came from mitigation fees paid by builders of new residences. Each new single-family home built in Marysville pays the district $8,434 in school mitigation impact fees; in the county builders pay $4,586. That adds up and the $24 million cost of the options campus is covered without selling bonds or raising property taxes, Nyland said. The gym will receive about $1.3 million from the state in matching funds. In all, the modular construction is 30 percent cheaper than conventional methods.
We dont have to go to the voters and we dont have to ask the taxpayers for more money, Nyland said.