Lake Washington School District (LWSD) held a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday for the project to rebuild and enlarge Juanita High School (JHS).
“This is a significant milestone in the Juanita community,” Forrest Miller, LWSD’s director of support services, said at the ceremony.
The district plans to build a multi-story comprehensive high school large enough accommodate a growing student body. LWSD is the fastest-growing district in King County. With an enrollment of 29,008, it is the third-largest district in the state.
Completed in 1971, JHS is the oldest of the district’s four comprehensive high schools. The school also includes a district-owned pool and the Juanita Fieldhouse, a unique gymnasium capable of holding tournaments and other large-scale events. Voters approved a plan to tear down the school and leave the gymnasium and pool as is last year.
“If it wasn’t for the support of our wonderful community, this wouldn’t be possible,” outgoing JHS principal Gary Moed said. “It’s time to say goodbye to the past — and all the sentiment that holds — and look to the future.”
Moed’s successor, incoming JHS principal Kelly Clapp, also spoke at the ceremony.
“We have this awesome opportunity to think about who and what we want to become,” she said.
Integrus Architecture designed the new building. Plans incorporated feedback from staff, parents and community members.
The project will be built in three phases by Cornerstone Contractors. This phased approach will reduce the reliance on portable classrooms during the construction process. It will enable some areas of the school such as the cafeteria and library to move directly to the new building. The phasing also means that the school will be completed in summer 2020, one year earlier than originally planned.
In addition to Miller, Moed and Clapp, LWSD Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce spoke at the groundbreaking event, where local officials including city councilmembers and school board members were in attendance.
“It’s a very exciting time for Lake Washington School District,” Pierce said. “It’s a time of growth, opportunity and success for Juanita and Lake Washington.”
The groundbreaking was the second in a series of five groundbreaking ceremonies held at LWSD schools. (The other four are in Redmond.) All of the improvements are being funded by a 2016 voter-approved $398 million bond measure.
Projects on this bond measure are part of the recommendations made by a long-range facilities planning task force. The task force’s work addresses the district’s growing enrollment and aging schools through 2029-30. To construct all the projects recommended by the task force, the district has proposed additional bonds for consideration in 2018, 2022 and 2026.