Facilities update: Playgrounds, Sunnyland, Gordon Carter and more

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Dear staff, families, and community members,

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

Inclusive playgrounds, new gyms

New inclusive playgrounds were recently installed at the new Alderwood and Parkview elementary schools. An inclusive playground is one that meets the needs of all children, including those with limited mobility and/or ability.

We know that safe, functional, durable and equitable outdoor play spaces are great learning environments. They are important to our schools and children; they also provide a fun outdoor experience for our greater community and neighborhoods during non-school hours. Learn more about inclusive playgrounds online.

Students playing on new play structure

The 2022 bond included funds for new playgrounds at Geneva, Silver Beach, Northern Heights and Wade King elementary schools. Each school identifies a work group to provide input on design for its new playground; Silver Beach’s playground committee is meeting this spring.

Parkview’s new gym will be completed this month and Shuksan Middle School opened its new auxiliary gym last fall. (See photo below.) Both spaces are utilized for physical education, school gatherings, and afterschool programs. These are ideal spaces for community groups to use and rent, as well. You can read more about our facility rental and use.

Shuksan new gym with hoops, bleachers, lights

Completing new Sunnyland

Crews have been working hard on the new Sunnyland Elementary School, and we expect framing and the roof to be complete by April. The team has worked hard to order all materials early to avoid price escalation and supply chain issues that have been experienced over the last two years. Drywall is about halfway complete, and crews have been able to maintain our schedule. We are grateful to have access to Memorial Park during construction thanks to our partnership with the City of Bellingham. We look forward to having the building completed by mid-July. If you haven’t seen our progress, check out our project web camera online. Recent photo from webcam on March 23 below.

Sunnyland building in progress web cam image

Updates on Gordon Carter site, new District Office

We are planning to open our first permanent structure on our Gordon Carter Environmental Education Site, which is a flexible learning space, by summer of 2023. This facility will provide much-needed shelter for our outdoor education programs, including Forest School, science classes, student leadership camps, and staff meeting space for professional development, as well as space for community partners. 

We are moving forward with our plans to build a new District Office on Barkley Boulevard and anticipate breaking ground on the new building in June. You can see the latest architectural renderings and other information about the District Office online.

As always, let me know if you have feedback or questions about any of our facilities projects.

I look forward to hearing from you, and thanks as always for your continued support.

Greg Baker