Construction at Kamiak Elementary, the latest addition to the Pullman School District, has been subject to minor delays but officials say the building is still on track to be completed in time for teachers to move in this summer.

PSD Director of Operations Joe Thornton said contractors are currently putting the final touches on the new building, but much of the hard work is done. He said the district had hoped to receive the official go-ahead from the city to occupy the new facility by now, but that was delayed to allow for design changes in the communication system linked to fire alarms and elevators.

“We can’t get what’s called the TCO — a temporary certificate of occupancy — until those final two pieces are working; fire alarm call-out and elevator communication,” Thornton said. “Other than that, everything’s on time (and) on schedule — teachers are going to be able to move in this summer and we’ll be ready for kids in the fall.”

The Pullman School District postponed some orientation-style events planned for students, parents and staff, Thornton said; however, those will be rescheduled once the district secures a certificate of occupancy, which is likely within the next two weeks.

Thornton said the district drew up new attendance boundaries in 2017 that will redistribute some of the current student population to Kamiak. He said this will also allow students to attend class closer to home while giving them safer, shorter routes to school.

Additionally, he said, many of the teachers who will staff Kamiak are already employed by the district.

“The teaching staff for Kamiak are already in place, they’re just at different buildings,” Thornton said. “What’s happening is a bunch of classrooms are being moved to Kamiak from our overcrowded current elementary schools.”

Currently, Thornton said, Pullman’s three elementary schools are each stuffed to around 125 percent of capacity.

He said moving students and teachers to Kamiak will not only bring this down to about 85 percent per school, but will also allow for the district to recapture specialized spaces like music and science rooms that had previously been repurposed to serve as general-purpose classrooms.

While the ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for August, Thornton said the public and passersby will be welcome to stop in and see the building for themselves for much of the summer.

“The building’s going to be open all summer — I mean, the principal, Evan Hecker, is going to be there all summer, I’ll have custodial staffing (and) a secretary,” Thornton said. “We’ll probably schedule several evenings where people can come walk through the building, but people are also going to be welcome to just drop in and take a look.”

Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to

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