Reminder: Join our virtual conversation May 27 and facilities update

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Dear staff, students, families and community members,

I am looking forward to hearing from you during our virtual conversation via Zoom starting at 5 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27. It is technically a webinar, so attendees will not be seen or heard, but you can submit questions live.

Please join the meeting using this link:  https://bellinghamschools.zoom.us/j/92033215419. To simply listen in, call 253-215-8782 or 669-900- 6833 and enter webinar ID: 920 3321 5419.

You can also submit a question or topic before noon on May 27 via this webform, and we will do our best to provide answers during the meeting. For those of you who cannot make it, we will post a recording of the event on our website sometime on Thursday.

Based on questions that have already come in, I will be addressing a wide range of topics including reopening schools next year, school year calendars, and transitions into middle and high schools for our rising sixth and ninth graders.

Capital projects update

I also wanted to share some news about our capital projects. Thanks to voter support, our 2013 and 2018 facilities bonds are helping fund many projects around our district, including replacement schools and new turf fields. During our closure, some construction work has moved forward, and most projects are still on schedule.

  • We will be collecting bids for the new Alderwood Elementary School in early June. Construction will begin this summer.
  • Construction on the new Parkview Elementary School will also begin this summer, and we hope to name a contractor in July. We are excited to plan dueling ribbon-cutting events for just before we open in fall 2021 with both Parkview and Alderwood opening at that time.
  • Our new transportation garage is complete. Staff has already moved in all of our new tools and equipment, including a bus lift. As soon as we start transporting students again, our bus maintenance crews will be able to work in a safer, more eco-friendly space. Watch a quick video tour here.

Aerial photo of the bus garage

  • This summer will be busy as we kick off our work on Shuksan Middle School’s auxiliary gym and phase two of our multi-purpose field for football and soccer, baseball and softball fields at Bellingham High School.
  • We will wrap up work with the Sunnyland Educational Specifications/Design Advisory Committee by the end of the school year, and I anticipate receiving the group’s recommendation for design guidelines this summer. Permitting, bidding and beginning construction is all expected next spring for completion by fall 2022.
  • Squalicum High School’s fields are wrapping up. The baseball field and softball fields are complete with ongoing work to the dugouts and adjacent storage buildings. The soccer field drainage is currently being installed with completion of the field scheduled for next month. LED lighting has been installed and is operational at all fields.

aerial of the squalicum field

  • Our work on the new District Office continues with our architect, collecting information and input from staff and stakeholders. We plan to start our design advisory committee work soon.

We are so grateful for our community’s ongoing support.

We hope you will tune in to the webinar tomorrow evening.

Greg Baker