GIG HARBOR, Jan. 31, 2019 — The mood was celebratory today following the Peninsula School District Board’s approval to buy the Cheney Family Branch building from the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound (B&GC).
The building would become the District’s Elementary School #10, opening in fall 2019 with nine classrooms plus a gym and lunchroom. The building, on Skansie Avenue in Gig Harbor, is currently known as the Jim & Carolyn Milgard Family HOPE Center.
The sale is contingent on passage of the school bond measure February 12.
The Peninsula School District and the B&GC are extending their partnership to ensure that the B&GC will continue to provide youth programs on afternoons, weekends, summer, and days when school is not in session throughout the district
“When we learned of this opportunity, it was almost too good to believe,” said Superintendent Art Jarvis. “We had struggled to find a workable site for the new school and this answer is ideal. Now students can have nine new classrooms this fall. That’s three years sooner than we had planned and we will add classrooms for a complete new school,” Jarvis added.
Peninsula School District ruled out the original site considered for School #10. Known as the Bujacich site, the property is west of Highway 16 on Bujacich Road NW, across from McCormick Forest Park. Because the site is outside the urban growth boundary, building there would require changing county regulations, a time-consuming process, and delays. The District also determined that extending utilities to the site had a probable significant cost. The District decided the delay, costs, and uncertainty were unacceptable.
“I look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the District,” said Carrie Prudente Holden, club president, and CEO. “Already we have kids who walk to the club from three nearby schools. Kids from 10 other District schools come regularly by bus.”
Pending voter approval of the bond issue February 12, the District will immediately begin to design a 22-classroom addition to the new School #10 building for a complete full-size elementary school on the property.
Passage of the bond issue would also allow the District to build an all-new and larger Evergreen Elementary School in Lakebay. Plans call for replacing the existing overcrowded, outdated school building constructed more than 60 years ago.
“We have wanted to expand Boys & Girls Clubs’ programs to Key Peninsula for years. The District’s plan for a community focus at Evergreen will help make that possible for us,” Holden said.
In addition to funding construction of Evergreen and School #10, passing the bond issue would fund building two other elementary schools: a new Elementary School #9 on land it owns in Harbor Hills, opening in 2021, and a new and expanded Artondale Elementary, also opening in fall 2021.
The bond issue on the ballot February 12 is intended to address severe overcrowding in the District’s eight 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.