* Peninsula School District has ruled out the Bujacich site for a new elementary school due to high costs, delays and uncertainty.
* The School Board has approved buying an ideal alternative location, the Boys & Girls Club (B&GC) on Skansie Avenue.
* The new Elementary School #10 in the club building will initially open this fall, three years earlier than planned, with nine badly needed classrooms.
The Peninsula School District Board approved a purchase and sale agreement to buy the HOPE Center building and property from the club at a Jan. 31 special meeting.
The building known as the Jim & Carolyn Milgard Family HOPE Center, on Skansie Avenue in Gig Harbor, is home to the Boys & Girls Club Cheney Family Branch.
The building will become Elementary School #10, opening in fall 2019 with nine classrooms plus a gym and lunchroom. The District will add 22 classrooms to the building to create a full-size school.
The District will work with the B&GC throughout the district to continue its programs on afternoons, weekends and days when school is not in session.
The sale is contingent on passage of the school bond measure February 12.
Also included in the bond measure are the District’s plans to build a new Elementary School #9 on its property in Harbor Hills, opening in 2021, and to replace and expand Artondale Elementary, opening in fall 2021. Bond funds will also pay for emergent infrastructure needs at other District schools to keep students safe, warm, and dry.
The bond issue will fund an all-new and larger Evergreen Elementary School in Lakebay, replacing the existing overcrowded, outdated school building constructed more than 60 years ago, Plans include a community focus for use by community groups, such as Boys & Girls Club.
Why not build on the Bujacich property, previously identified for School #10?
The B&GC building and land is a far better alternative than building on Bujacich Road NW, across from McCormick Forest Park. Getting approval to build a school on the Bujacich property would require a time-consuming change in county regulations. The delay, high cost and uncertainty caused the District to search for an alternative site.
Why build elementary schools?
The bond issue on the ballot February 12 is intended to address severe overcrowding in the District’s seven elementary schools. Today the schools serve 1,000 students more than they were designed for. The number of students in the District continues to grow, with three years of consecutive record-high kindergarten enrollment.