John Muir Elementary breaks ground on new facility in Kirkland
By CARRIE RODRIGUEZ
Kirkland Reporter Editor
March 4, 2011 · 7:47 PM
The John Muir Elementary community celebrated the groundbreaking on a new school during a ceremony on Thursday.
Set to open this fall, the new $18 million facility will replace the existing building as part of the Lake Washington School District modernization program.
During the event, the Kamiakin Junior High Jazz Band performed, followed by remarks from principal Jeff DeGallier and Dr. Chip Kimball, superintendent. Currently the longest-serving staff member at John Muir Elementary, Barb Whelan also spoke during the event. She started working at the school as an instructional assistant nearly 30 years ago.
"So 29 years later, six principals later, with four children and three grandchildren attending this school, I'm still here," said Whelan.
She said the school has evolved from a nationally-recognized school in the '80s, to becoming a school of distinction in 2010.
"I've seen a lot of changes and growth over the years, and now I'm part of another wonderful change - a new school," she said.
Her granddaughter, Makena Whelan, age 10, also spoke about her favorite memory at the school - the 5th grade Halloween party.
The school was built in 1970 and is named after famous naturalist and writer, John Muir. The new 56,700-square foot school will be built “green” reflecting Muir's beliefs.
The project's general contractor is Allied Construction Associates and Mahlum Architects helped design the new building.
The school will open this fall as a K-6 elementary school, then in 2012 it will become a K-5 elementary school as the LWSD changes to a K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 format.
John Muir is part of Phase 2 of the district's overall modernization program. Voters approved $436 million in bonds in 2006 to pay for the program. The new facility will be built behind the old facility.
Other Phase 2 schools in Kirkland include Robert Frost Elementary that was completed in 2009, and Lake Washington High School and Finn Hill Junior High, which are currently under construction.Contact Kirkland Reporter Editor Carrie Rodriguez at email@example.com or 1-425-822-9166 (ext 5050).