Thirty-nine Highline parents, students, and community members spent the last 10 months studying and deliberating about the need to improve or replace schools in Highline. The result is a long-range facilities plan and a recommendation for a bond to fund new school construction.
CFAC’s plan lays out three phases of improvements over 15-18 years. Each phase would require a voter-approved bond to fund construction.
The committee identified four top-priority problems to be solved in Phase 1:
CFAC recommends the following projects in Phase 1:
- Elementary capacity – With growing enrollment and state funding for smaller class sizes, more elementary classrooms are needed.
- Middle school capacity – Current middle schools do not have room to accommodate growing enrollment and the addition of sixth grade.
- Des Moines Elementary – This 90-year-old school is ranked as the Highline school in worst condition in an independent survey by architects.
- Highline High School – HHS is ranked in second worst condition in the same survey.
The recommendations are the result of a year-long process that included analyzing enrollment projections, reviewing building conditions and financial data, and touring aging schools.
- Security improvements at all schools in the district.
- Rebuild Highline High School, preserving as much of the façade as structurally and financially feasible.
- Begin design of new Evergreen and Tyee campuses, and Pacific Middle School
- Build new school on the district-owned Zenith site to house Des Moines students, with room for growing enrollment.
- Build a new middle school on the district-owned Glacier site.
- Replenish the capital fund, which will be depleted in 2017-18. This fund covers critical needs and emergency repairs.
- Make required improvements to Olympic so it can be used to house students during HHS construction and future school construction projects.
“This was a community-driven process,” said Co-Chair Houle. “District staff provided the information we asked for, and the community members based their decisions on data.”
The CFAC co-chairs praised committee members for dedicating many hours to understanding the issues and developing solutions.
“I been involved in many committees over my long years working for this community, and this is the best one I have ever experienced,” said Co-chair Clark. “The process we followed should be a model for problem-solving in the future.”
The school board is reviewed the CFAC recommendations and voted to place a bond measure on the November ballot with all CFAC recommendations.