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Options Campus nearing completion

MARYSVILLE Initially slated to open Sept. 1, the Options Campus on the Tulalip Reservation now could be ready for students in early December.
Director of capital projects for the school district, John Bingham said officials expect to take control of the facility from contractors Nov. 17.
We could conceivably move students in that Monday, Bingham added though he didnt seem to think that likely.
What seems more in the cards is for school workers to begin bringing in furniture, equipment and so on, basically readying the school for occupation.
The campus will be home to three existing small learning communities. The idea is to make the switch to the new facilities with as little academic disruption as possible. That makes the beginning of December, when the current school quarter ends, an ideal time for the move.
The very most important part is the curriculum, Bingham said. But there are other issues that could slow the overall process.
Day by day, things change, Bingham said.
From Binghams point of view, the biggest current hurdle is the need to bury some Verizon overhead utility lines. The poles supporting those lines need to go away in order to make room for a third lane on 27th Ave. The lane became a requirement imposed by county officials, presumably during the project permitting process.
According to Bingham, district contractors have put in place the underground conduits that will house the lines. All that remains is to move those lines, a task Verizon needs to undertake. Bingham believes the company will get the work done the week of Nov. 26. Once the poles are out of the way, constructing the new lane should take about a week.
Still, Bingham cautioned even if the poles disappear that doesnt guarantee a timely appearance by the new lane. One look at the calendar, he said, should tell anyone that weather could become a factor. Workers will need at least a couple of warm, dry days in order to lay any asphalt.
Just in case Verizon or the weather dont happen to cooperate, school officials are trying to work out some contingency plans with the county. Bingham said one would allow the campus to open without the added lane, with the understanding it eventually would be finished.
At least one other option calls for construction of a temporary lane.
According to Bingham, the county permitting process is what led to delays in the project to date. He didnt in any way fault county officials, but stated the campus makes use of portable classrooms in new ways.
Usually with portables, its like putting in a mobile home, but this is something completely different, Bingham said. Basically, county building inspectors didnt initially know how to say yes or no.
The three small learning communities to call the campus home include a high school-level arts and technology program currently being housed in space leased by the district. That school serves about 200 students. Another campus building will be home to the Heritage School, serving approximately 100 students with an emphasis on the history of the Tulalip tribes.
Finally, the third option school will be relocated from 10th and Beach streets. All 165 students of that school play some sort of musical instrument.
Residential mitigation fees are paying for the $25 million campus project. The fees are collected by the county on new residential projects and turned over to the district. Bingham said the schools have been banking at least some of those funds for several years and sold bonds against future collections to pay for the options campus.

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