Building Excellence Plan: Construction needs through 2034

Phase 2: Future construction

At the November 20, 2023 School Board Study Session, Associate Superintendent Barbara Posthumus, Superintendent Jon Holmen and Executive Director of Support Services Brian Buck shared an update to Phase 2 of the Building Excellence Plan. Phase II will include the following projects:  

  • Rebuild and enlarge Alcott Elementary – estimated completion in 2027. 
  • Fieldhouse/pool refurbishment at Juanita High School – estimated completion in 2028. 
  • Rebuild or expand Kamiakin Middle School – estimated completion in 2029. 
  • Rebuild or expand Evergreen Middle School – estimated completion in 2031. 
  • Rebuild and enlarge Smith Elementary – estimated completion in 2031-2032. 

The recommended funding mechanism for the Phase 2 projects is a six-year Capital Construction Levy that would go to voters in November 2024. Levy collection would begin in 2026. 

Previous Facility Advisory Committees recommended having renderings (pre-design) of future projects. Pre-design work is underway now on the four aging schools and is expected to be completed by February. 

For the full recommendation, see the November 20 Study Session presentation here

For more details about each project, see the full presentation from the October 2 Study Session here.   

A final recommendation will be brought to the board for action in May/June 2024. 

A Building Excellence Capital Construction Levy in November 2024 will focus on aging facilities – with a goal of rebuilding/enlarging the four remaining schools that have not received upgrades or rebuilds since the start of the 1998 modernization program: Alcott Elementary, Smith Elementary, Kamiakin Middle School and Evergreen Middle School.  

School Year opened area Potential year open Permanent capacity added Estimated cost ($ in millions)*
Alcott Elementary 1986 Redmond/ King County 2027 207 $80.4
Smith Elementary 1988 Sammamish 2031/2032 253 $93.8
Kamiakin Middle School 1974 Juanita/ Kirkland 2029 330 $149.1
Evergreen Middle School 1983 Redmond/  King County 2031 79 $161.1

Pool/ 
Fieldhouse at JHS

1971 Juanita/  Kirkland 2028 N/A $25.1
SUBTOTAL 869 $509.5
Program contingency/construction escalation   $111.9
TOTAL   $621.4

*Updated costs will be available in March 2024.

An aging facility is a school that meets one of the following criteria: 

  • Does not meet the standards within the LWSD Educational Specification for school space. 
  • Has reached or exceeded expected useful life. 
  • Is more than 40 years old and has not received an upgrade, remodel or replacement as part of the district’s facility strategy that commenced in 1998. 

The previous Facility Advisory Committee recommended having renderings (pre-design) of projects to support future funding measures. Pre-design activities are underway at all of these sites to make the process faster once funding is available. 

The funding mechanism that has been presented to the school board is a six-year construction levy. The collections would occur from 2026-2031, with projects being completed by 2031/2032. This will help to maintain a stable tax rate without further indebting the district. 

Why not build new schools? 
Over the past several years, overall growth in LWSD has slowed. This allows us to focus on our remaining aging facilities and being able to bring these schools up to current educational specifications.  

Fall 2021 overview

The 2022 Building Excellence Construction Levy is step one in a three-step plan to provide permanent classrooms for students and address aging facilities and reduce reliance on portables through 2034. The Building Excellence Plan identifies the specific projects needed and a long-term funding plan that allows all required projects to be completed by 2034.

The image below shows our construction needs through 2034. Please note: Projects are listed in reverse order, with the 2022 Construction Levy items listed at the bottom.

Construction needs through 2034

Here are the details of the plan through 2034:

  • Phase 1 – Construction Levy (February 2022)
    • Phase 1 of the Building Excellence Plan funds $295 million or 15% of the identified school construction needs. These construction needs are considered critical over the next four years. This levy provides funding to build critical classroom space across our district:
      • Due to change in enrollment since the levy passed, the plan to add a new elementary school on the Redmond Elementary campus was changed to enlarge Rockwell Elementary. This change was approved by the LWSD school board. See the press release for more information.
      • Additions at Finn Hill, Kirkland and Redmond middle schools, providing capacity for 600 more students.  
      • Additional high school capacity for about 1,200 more students.
      • Acquisition of property for future schools.  
  • Phase 2 – Bond (Future – 2024)
    • Phase 2 of the Building Excellence Plan funds $971 million or 49% of the identified school construction needs. These needs include both adding new student space and replacing aging facilities. This levy provides funding to build critical classroom space across our district and addresses aging schools:
      • Elementary School: Rebuild and expand Alcott Elementary and Smith Elementary, Add a new elementary school in Lake Washington area.
      • Middle School: Rebuild or expand Kamiakin Middle School.
      • High School: Build a fifth comprehensive high school.
      • Other: Refurbish JHS fieldhouse/pool, Add space for early learning in Lake Washington area.
  • Phase 3 – Renewal of Construction Levy (Future 2028)
    • Phase 3 of the Building Excellence Plan funds $705 million or 36% of the identified school construction needs. These needs are new student space, replacing aging facilities, reducing our reliance on portables. This levy provides funding to build critical classroom space across our district and addresses aging schools:
      • Elementary School: Rebuild and expand Rockwell Elementary, add two new elementary schools (location TBD). 
      • Middle School: Rebuild or expand Evergreen Middle School.
      • High School: Add additional high school capacity to Lake Washington area (TBD). 
      • Other: Add space for early learning in Juanita area.