This little garden and the area around it on the grounds of the middle school is the site for a new 5,000 square foot building as temporary space for the high school's Career and Technical Educational programs starting in the fall.
The Anacortes school board voted on February 27 to approve the construction of the metal building and the City Council approved a Conditional Use Permit on Monday night. The building will provide long-term technology and maintenance space, while housing high school CTE programs in the coming school year.
Construction of the building solves a vexing issue for the school district; where to house the CTE programs while the CTE wing of the renovated high school is reconstructed. The other classrooms continue to be housed in the main high school wing before moving to the new main classroom building in the fall.
In April 2016, the school board approved a high school construction plan that required vocational, performing arts, athletic and music programs to be relocated for the 2018-2019 school year, leaving the school district to search for space. Construction of the new building solves that problem.
The board based its decision on student safety, project schedule and total construction costs. By removing students from the building, the district avoided pedestrian traffic through a construction zone each day. In addition, the plan resulted in a project schedule accelerated by four months, and an estimated savings of more than $730,000.
But, the new building will cost the school district about $1.2 million. Where is the money coming from? Relocation dollars from the high school construction bond, the technology levy and the district’s general fund.
The district set aside about $600,000 from the high school bond for relocation costs, including rental facilities and transportation. In the last year, former elementary principal and program logistics coordinator Bob Knorr has worked to secure spaces for high school programs for the 2018-2019 school year.
As a result of the construction plan, 14 academic and co-curricular programs will be relocated off-site next year. These programs represent about 20 percent of all instructional hours and almost half of all athletic and co-curricular events, according to school superintendent Dr. Mark Wenzel.
“The programs that proved the most difficult to relocate were our vocational classes such as robotics and metals,” said Knorr. “We followed leads on 15 properties, including the Marine Tech Center, but they either couldn’t accommodate program needs, transportation to and from the site would negatively impact student instructional time, or, in the case of one viable facility, would have cost upwards of $400,000 in renovation to make the program work and meet student safety needs.”
In reviewing the situation, the board expressed its desire to maximize public resources and focus on value.
“It is important to us that we are responsible stewards of district funds,” said board president Bobbilyn Hogge. “It would have been such a waste of resources to spend that much money to renovate a facility for a year and not have anything to show for it.”
Further research by the district suggested the possibility of a metal building as a solution. It was seen as a way to meet multiple district needs.
“We knew that in the future we would need more space to address our technology and maintenance needs,” said Wenzel, who noted the district now has 3,000 devices to maintain as well as a need for more general maintenance space. “It was something we were planning down the road, and we had support for infrastructure built into the four-year technology levy. The timing just worked out to address it now – and to tackle two problems at once.”
The district received three bids on the project, with a low bid by Quantum Construction of $1.2 million. Funds will come from three sources: relocation dollars from the high school bond, the technology levy and the district’s general fund.
About 200 students will take classes in the building next year.
“I’m really pleased that the district was able to find a solution to house our high school programs next year,” said Anacortes High School teacher and Career & Technical Education director Joe Furin. “These are highly valued hands-on learning programs for our students, and this facility will ensure that our educational program continues uninterrupted.”
Updated to show total cost of the building is about $1.2 million.