The Pullman School District has hired Design West Architects to draw up preliminary plans for expansions at Lincoln Middle School.
While district officials have a rough idea of what areas of the school are in need of expansion, the project is in its infancy.
Superintendent Bob Maxwell said details will become clearer once early designs have been drafted. Maxwell said district officials will meet with architects in the coming months to produce designs and estimates of the size and cost of the project. He said if all goes as planned, the public will vote on a bond funding the expansion in February 2020.
“The goal at this point would be to add some additional classrooms and a student bathroom … (and) remodel an existing classroom into a science classroom,” Maxwell said. “We’d like to also enlarge the commons which would probably mean relocating, possibly, the choir and band room to another space.”
Maxwell said it is difficult to predict the full amount the school district will request for the coming renovations, but it will be much less than the $15.4 million bond approved by voters in 2002 to upgrade LMS. That bond is set to expire in December of 2020 and would be replaced by the new, smaller bond, Maxwell said, meaning taxpayers will see a drop in what they pay in property taxes if the bond passes or not.
He said with $57 million in renovations at the high school completed in early 2017 and the all new Kamiak Elementary School nearing completion, expanding middle school facilities is the logical next step.
“We know with a possibly growing population that the next pinch point is going to be the middle school,” Maxwell said. “It’s been getting close to capacity and so we’re just trying to be proactive and also, make sure we’re doing it in a very systematic, efficient way to stay ahead of the growth.”
Typically, Maxwell said, school districts hire architects to begin the design process only after a bond has been approved. By flipping these steps, he said, the district will have a more accurate cost estimate when they do request the bond and it will allow them to begin the project much more quickly if it is approved.
Maxwell said if voters approve the move, work could begin as early as the spring of 2020.
If renovations move forward without unforeseen delay, Maxwell said parts of the project would likely be completed the fall of 2020 with any additional renovations to be completed in future phases.
“It’s not like we’ll have an empty building, we’ll actually have kids there so we’re going to have to be very strategic,” Maxwell said. “(We’ll) probably do some of the additional classrooms first and then we can move kids into there while we do some internal things — it’s a lot like a giant jigsaw puzzle.”
Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to email@example.com.