Snoqualmie Valley School Board President Geoff Doy described the designs for the future, re-built Mount Si High School as “a school to be proud of,” saying the schematic plans brought tears to his eyes.
Raised above flood levels; constructed of low-maintenance, durable materials; secure with fewer points of entry; open spaces with stunning views of Mount Si and Rattlesnake Ridge; innovative outdoor roof areas; street level/under building parking; a compact, streamlined design influenced by the needs of students, teachers and administrators; a connected yet separate freshman campus. It seems nothing was missed while designing the future Mount Si High School.
The schematic design unanimously approved by the school board in December was the product of a six-month collaborative effort consisting of student input, community feedback, parent volunteers, SVSD staff members and NAC Architecture. This design team produced a reinvented Mount Si, one that will break ground in spring 2017.
As is often the case with construction projects this size, some unanticipated bumps in the road occurred while designing the 355,000 square foot facility with capacity for 2,300 students. Those unanticipated items include re-building instead of remodeling the gymnasium and adding concrete footings to the foundation to meet new, more stringent earthquake code; including foundation and parking for a [future] expansion to accommodate 300 more students if needed; elevating, turfing, lighting and making [relocated] softball and baseball fields multi-use, maximizing year-round usage and helping meet community field space demands.
The district said cost estimate for the original building space is still adequate, but the price tag for (above) unanticipated items is predicted to add a possible $20 million to the $188 million facility voters approved in February 2015. The approved school bond contained language stating that state matching funds, for which these district projects qualify, could be used for unanticipated cost overruns – and is how SVSD will handle the budget increase.
The school board approved those additional items, along with the schematic designs, and their associated cost estimates in December – totaling approximately $208 million. During the meeting the district explained there was potential for NOT needing all of it of the matching funds, but it wanted to be straight forward about the increased costs early in the process.
SVSD was recently awarded $7 million in state matching for the new elementary school project, which it will not need to finish and open that $35 million school by September 2016. SVSD also expects to qualify for $20-$21 million in matching funds for the Mount Si re-build. That $27-$28 million of state matched funding can be used for any SVSD capital project – and has been authorized by the school board for the additional high school costs described above. Any unused state matching funds could be utilized to pay down the bond debt in an effort to save taxpayers money.
During the December board meeting, Superintendent Aune stated the district has a high degree of confidence in the future success of the [high school] project. Board members viewed the unanticipated items as “value added” and “good investments” for the community – citing longterm planning for enrollment growth and bringing more [lighted] field space to the Snoqualmie Valley. The required earthquake code foundation work will serve to make the facility safer in the event of a large-scale quake.
What will the New Mount Si High School Look Like?
The new MSHS will be built above flood-level on a platform, with space for parking underneath at street level. It will have multiple common areas, lunch rooms, an open media/library, 3-story classroom buildings with more science and lab spaces, Career and Technical (CTE) spaces, unique outdoor roof spaces, a 3rd floor greenhouse, and a close (but separate) freshman campus with its own drop-off and entry. The gym and performing arts center will be located toward the back of the property, with most of the school lining Meadowbrook Way – where the current softball/baseball fields are now.
Superintendent Aune said because the school will be elevated 10-11 feet, and with fewer points of entry, it has the added benefit of being incredibly secure. NAC architect Matt Rambaugh agreed, saying once students travel up the stairs and enter the building, that’s it, they’re in school.
The new school will be constructed with durable, low maintenance materials like steel panels and a complimenting corrugated metal siding material in warm tones, which were selected almost unanimously by the design committee.
Parking and Project Timeline
During construction, the district will have temporary parking on the south side of the property and expects to maintain the current level of parking spots for students and staff. By building the new school on the current baseball/softball fields, the timeframe of the project was reduced by about two years and will allow the current building to remain intact until the first phase is complete – reducing student disruption during construction.
The majority of the new school will be completed in fall of 2019. The Performing Arts Center opens in fall 2020, with the last of the old school demolished and the parking lot installed in January 2021.
In fall 2019 the current freshman campus will be reinstated as Snoqualmie Middle School.
For more information about the Mount Si High School Re-build project visit the SVSD Facility Planning & Construction page.