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New Grove Elementary, other projects moving along
MARYSVILLE Director of capital projects for the Marysville School District, John Bingham said construction of what will be the new Grove Elementary School at the intersection of Grove and 67th streets is well ahead of schedule.
If you drive by the construction site, you should see the beginnings of the school gymnasium, some framing going up in other spots along with some initial utility work getting underway.
In fact, with completion of the foundation, Bingham said the construction has hit some significant milestones.
The school should open to students in September 2008, one year ahead of the original timetable, Bingham added. Further, construction costs now are estimated at $18.5 million, down from $20 million.
Grove will be the school districts 11th elementary school. It will be the citys first two-story elementary grade level building.
Bingham said if all goes as planned, Grove could be a model for future Marysville elementary schools. For example, officials hope to use the Grove footprint in replacing the Cascade and Liberty elementary school buildings.
Besides being two stories high, Grove might be unique among Marysville schools in its use of modular or, in theory, portable classrooms. The new building will make use of eight of them, built in a factory north of Marysville and then transferred to the construction site. Bingham said the district has made use of portables in the past, but those going in at the Grove site have or will be vastly modified to blend in with the parts of the building under more traditional construction.
In essence, you shouldnt even know they are there, Bingham said.
Just how far the Grove footprint spreads may be up to a facilities committee that will reconvene in December. The committee will consist of interested residents, parents, business leaders and others. School staff will help provide any needed facts. According to Bingham, officials will ask the committee to come up with recommendations for what could be a bond issue to go before voters in 2010.
Being built with the proceeds of a bond issue passed by voters in February of last year, Grove is, of course, one of several district construction projects underway. The new Marysville high school is still in the design phase. Bingham said bids should go out to contractors next spring. The Getchell Hill high school will serve some 1,600 students and consist of 190,000-square-feet on 38 acres.
After several delays, the district also hopes to open the new Options Campus on the Tulalip reservation, next to Quil Ceda Elementary.
While district construction plans move forward, at a joint City Council Board of Education meeting Oct. 29, school Superintendent Larry Nyland reported the district had lost 67 students as classes started up in September. Projections had called for the student population to jump by 100. Nyland was at a loss as to explain the difference between reality and district projections. But despite the drop in students, Bingham said the construction projects underway are needed.
For example, he characterized the current Marysville High School as undoubtedly overcrowded, adding state education officials agree. In the case of both Cascade and Liberty elementary schools, the state considers the schools too old for renovation, meaning no state funding would be available for remodeling those schools. The state will pitch in money for building completely new schools.
Its something we need to keep an eye on, Bingham said regarding district enrollment figures.
But he described the current numbers as a sort of glitch, stating there is currently more residential construction planned in Marysville than at any other time in the citys history. More homes eventually should mean more kids going to school.