At last night’s SVSD school board bond planning work session, a new bond path may have been forged. The board decided to re-examine a Mount Si High School remodel as a bond option in lieu of a new third middle school. If a fresh cost analysis and educational impact analysis supports this bond option, Snoqualmie Middle School may only serve as a temporary Freshman Learning Center (or even possibly not used at all as one board member asked for architects to determine if 9th graders need to be moved) until high school construction is finished. The FLC could then be moved onto Mount Si’s campus.
This doesn’t mean this MSHS remodel/expansion option is a done-deal. It means the board wants to perform its due diligence in exploring more than one bond option to ensure that SVSD continues with three middle schools and a comprehensive 9-12 high school. It also recognized that a MSHS remodel could save the district operational money for years to come, but that a new analysis and cost estimate of the Mount Si work is still needed. A new middle school is estimated to add $750,000 annually to future SVSD budgets if a bond to build it passes.
Board member Scott Hodgins noted a Mount Si remodel/expansion seemed to tick all boxes for board members, who were divided on a vote to move forward with the conversion of Snoqualmie Middle School to a Mount Si Freshmen Learning Center in 2013; a move that reduces the district to a two middle school educational model. Hodgins noted that a high school remodel would keep SVSD in a three middle school model that all 5 board members support, still moves forward with the Freshmen Learning Center by temporarily housing it at SMS and then bringing the concept to the 9-12 campus, gives MSHS a much-needed remodel to keep up with 21st century learning and saves on future operational costs by utilizing current district buildings and avoiding additional administrative costs that accompany new schools.
The school board agreed to continue the discussion about future bond planning at a work session on Saturday, June 16th form 8AM-12PM at the District Office. Superintendent Aune emphasized that time is critical with the planning – that October 25th is a deadline to confirm what the bond would entail in order to be on the February 2013 ballot. He explained that re-examining the high school remodel might take 6 months. He and other administrators were ready for direction from the board to keep the (bond planning) process moving forward. Geoff Doy noted he considered this bond very important and was willing to put in the needed hours.