Thanks to past community support, we have many outstanding school facilities. However, some of our schools need attention to provide every child a safe, healthy and functional school. Our Facilities Planning Task Force made the following recommendation to the superintendent in June 2017.

Task Force Background and Process

In spring 2017, Bellingham Public Schools convened a Facilities Planning Task Force representing staff, students, community members and parents from across our school district. Their task was to identify and prioritize major facility improvement projects for Bellingham Public Schools for a bond issue to put before voters in February 2018.

They began with a consultant’s evaluation of the condition of the district’s buildings, and toured the facilities. Task force meeting minutes, presentations and data from our process, as well as full details of the recommendation, are posted on the Facilities Planning Task Force webpage.

Some Needs Remain

The task force carefully weighed the financial impact of its recommendation on our residential and business property owners. School buildings in our district have more facility needs than those recommended. However, this recommendation meets many of the greatest needs while not increasing the combined total school tax rate for property owners living within Bellingham Public Schools’ attendance areas.

Note: The state Legislature plans to change the amount of property tax collected by the state and local school districts in the near future, which may affect the total school tax rate.

 

Rebuild Alderwood, Parkview and Sunnyland

These three elementary schools were recommended due to their condition as well as their proximity to the growth occurring in north Bellingham, allowing for additional enrollment capacity or “infill” of our existing elementary schools before building a fifteenth elementary school in a future bond (not part of this bond recommendation).

These elementary schools likely can be rebuilt adjacent to the existing schools, allowing students to continue to attend their schools until the new school opens, similar to how Happy Valley was built and Sehome is being constructed. The recent improvements of a new cafeteria and gym at Parkview would be incorporated and used in the design of the new school.

Alderwood Elementary 
 

Parkview Elementary

 

Sunnyland Elementary

 
Cost estimate: $89 million

 

Improving Safety and Security

Recommended safety improvements include lockdown shades for classrooms and other school areas from the exterior when needed; radio communication; PA/intercom for all school areas, including portables; access control for more secured entrances at some schools in need; door locking systems; security cameras for exterior vandalism deterrent and protection; and cameras in some commons interior areas such as hallways (all school offices have cameras from the previous bond).

Cost estimate: $3.6 million

 

Protecting and Maintaining Existing Schools

This covers roofs, windows, flooring, heating and ventilation, etc., similar to how homeowners protect and maintain their home. This list includes improvements for all schools.

Cost estimate: $6.46 million

 

Providing Long-Term Technology Infrastructure and Reader Boards

The task force reviewed long-term technology needs for our schools. These technology infrastructure improvements are different than the short-term needs such as computer and software that are funded by our technology levy. These long-term technology needs include cabling and improved technology infrastructure.

The task force also learned that some parent organizations are fundraising for school reader boards as a communication tool for important reminders to parents during pick-up and drop-off times. This would provide reader boards for schools that want them, eliminating this fundraising need.

Cost estimate: $1.89 million

 

Making Facility Improvements for Health and Wellness

This includes second phase of turf fields for soccer, baseball and softball at Bellingham, Sehome and Squalicum high schools; one more tennis court at Bellingham and Squalicum high schools so all three comprehensive high schools have six tennis courts; improving drainage and the usability of some elementary school fields so parent organizations don’t have to fundraise for this purpose; and additional gym space at Shuksan Middle School.

Cost estimate: $34.55 million

 

Complete Remaining 2013 Bond Projects

This includes the Sehome High School rebuild, Central Kitchen, and Transportation Garage improvements. The task force learned that since original estimates were developed in 2012 for these projects that are currently in the planning phase, construction costs have escalated and the Sehome project in particular is subject to new stormwater, electrical, mechanical and building regulations.

Cost estimate: $19.5 million

 

Total Cost Estimate:
$155 million