Construction news and facilities update for October 2022

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Dear staff, families, students and community members,

We have some exciting news to share related to facilities projects, which are made possible thanks to voter support of our recent bonds, including the bond that was on the ballot in the latest special election in February.

New Sunnyland Opens

The new Sunnyland Elementary School opened to staff, students and families just in time for the new school year. You can see flexible spaces for all kids, 24 classrooms, two stories, a full gym, an incredible new inclusive playground, and our district’s first central air-to-water heat pump to heat the school. You can read more about the new school and see photos of our Sunnyland Community Open House.

Updates on Gordon Carter site, new District Office and 15th elementary school

  • We are in the design and permitting stages for the Gordon Carter Environmental Education Site by Lake Whatcom. We plan to be building our outdoor education shelter by next summer. This flexible space will be used for Forest School, science classes, student leadership camps, staff meetings and community space.
  • Construction has begun on our new District Office on Barkley Boulevard, which will include an Early Childhood Center and Professional Development Center for staff and community members. We held a groundbreaking in June, and feel free to keep an eye on the progress we are making on our live web cams. The new District Office will be our first cross laminated timber (CLT) structure. CLT provides a warm, natural feel while still being sustainable. We plan to open by fall/winter of 2023.
  • The new 15th Elementary School Educational Specifications/Design Advisory Committee will kick off this month as it starts the planning process to build a new school in the King Mountain neighborhood. Funding for this new school was included in our most recent bond in February 2022, and you may remember that this space will initially be used as a swing space with a future bond supporting construction of new schools for Carl Cozier, Columbia and Roosevelt in the coming years. Once the replacement schools are open, this school off East Bakerview will open as a neighborhood school.

Other projects: Bellingham bleachers, Kulshan projects, safety measures

Our voter-approved bonds fund large scale projects like new schools and buildings, as well as special improvement projects that you may not be able to see or experience unless you are inside our schools. Over the summer, crews installed new bleachers inside Bellingham High School’s gymnasium, and refurbished the gym floor. The updated Bayhawks logos were installed on the floor and walls of the gym and on the turf fields.

Our bonds also allow us to continue to invest in enhanced safety measures. We have security cameras installed at all of our middle and high schools with installation at elementary scheduled over the next six months. Other important measures include installing intercoms and access control, door hardware replacement and window treatments.

We have hired designers for Kulshan Middle School’s new turf field and its addition of four new classrooms. We will be working with Kulshan staff and community to get input to help shape the design. We plan to begin construction on both projects next summer.

We are so grateful for your support of our district and our belief that our children and community deserve safe, sustainable, and inspiring spaces for learning.

Greg Baker