This summer some very noticeable changes will occur on the Mount Si High School property as the Snoqualmie Valley School District prepares to build a new Mount Si on the current site.
According to a Capital Facilities Program update given to the school board in late April, this summer the construction crews will begin important site preparation for the 2,300 student capacity, raised and flood-proofed, three-story, 355,000 square foot building that will also provide parking underneath.
First: Move Portables
If you’ve noticed construction behind the Mount Si Freshman Campus, that is work being done to prepare the site to house the ‘6-pack’ portable pod currently installed in the front parking lot of Mount Si’s main campus. The pod, which also has restrooms and covered walkways, will be deconstructed and moved to the Freshman Campus this summer.
The district has not yet determined the use for all 12 classrooms, but some will house SVSD’s Parent Partnership Program for homeschool families. Future possibilities also include professional development space and increased student capacity for the building, as it is the smallest of the three middle schools – only housing about 500 students when Chief Kanim and Twin Falls were built for 600.
The portable that houses the Mount Si TLC (Transitional Learning Center) special needs program will be removed and the program will relocate the Two Rivers property in North Bend – and move into a new, double portable to give TLC students and staff more needed space. Two Rivers will be the program’s permanent new home.
Site Work for New Mount Si Starts
Although actual construction of the new Mount Si High School building isn’t expected to begin until spring of 2017, important site prep work will commence this summer, which means changes for students when they return in September.
When the portable pod is moved, the front parking lot will essentially close and construction crews will begin preparing the site to house the new school. That will include digging the current front parking lot down two to three feet so it is on-grade with the baseball/softball fields in order to become a ‘site-ready,’ level building pad for the future facility.
Large amounts of crushed rock will also be brought in over the summer to firm up the soil so it can handle a two-hundred ton construction crane that will install the new school’s foundational system which is required to meet earthquake codes.
In November the large crane will begin installing ‘stone columns’ into the ground by vibrating a drill deep into the soil. As the drill retracts, it leaves gravel/crushed rock and creates a stone column.
Asst. Superintendent Ryan Stokes said during his April Capital Facilities Presentation that the West Seattle Bridge also used a similar stone column foundational system.
The stone column work is not weather dependent and the district estimates construction of the new building to start in April 2017.
Parking Relocates to Rear of School
Since the large front parking lot will become a construction site, crews will install a large, temporary parking lot behind the school. The school’s total number of parking spots will be maintained during construction.
The temporary lot will be built on the south side of the school (behind the shop building) where the district has been purchasing properties in order to increase the school’s contiguous footprint to aid in the design and shorten the timeframe of construction.
With the new parking lot, and 101 spaces available in the current back parking lot, a total of 525 spaces will be available during construction.
As of late April the new parking lot design had not yet been finalized, but the district anticipates school buses will drop students in an outer area of the new lot, with a long queue for bus parking while students load and unload away from car traffic.
The district is also working on communication with neighbors who live in the construction area and around the back of the property to answer questions about how the changes may impact them.
With the front lot closed and construction beginning, the main entrance of Mount Si High School will transition to the back entrance near the attendance office and outside gazebo.
Temporary Field for Baseball and Softball Teams
Baseball and softball teams will be using alternate field space during construction. There are plans to lease space at a new, non-district owned turfed facility planned for North Bend near Encompass. That facility may not be ready for the 2017 season. If so, the district will rent a different facility for a year. If it that private facility doesn’t come to fruition at all, the district will explore constructing a grass field at the Freshman Campus or a partnership with the City of Snoqualmie for a high school-sized field at Centennial.
When the new fields are installed, the plan is to line the field for multi-use: baseball, lacrosse, etc.
Most of New School online in 2019
The majority of new Mount Si High School is estimated to open in Fall 2019. The Performing Arts Center opens in fall 2020. The new baseball and softball fields are expected in 2019 or 2020. The last of the old school will be demolished and the parking lot installed in January 2021.
More information on the approved design plan and illustrations of the new Mount Si High School HERE.