Spectrum project takes a turn with new compromise design

During the time it took to complete three elementary school renovations, one at a junior high school, and one at the community pool in addition to the near entire construction of a new high school — collectively totaling almost $45 million of the North Kitsap School District’s $60 million capital programs bond — a $600,000 project at Spectrum Community School has been in limbo.

In the midst of six years of debate spurred largely by budget and design between Spectrum and the NKSD, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be nearing.

However, the action has yet to happen.

Since 2001, back and forth discussions of how to best utilize Spectrum’s piece of the bond has included topics from Spectrum’s identity and purpose to its student enrollment. Spectrum created a programming vision document as well as an overall campus master plan during the process, defining the function of a multipurpose building.

But under the weight of the $600,000 budget, the building design morphed into an option that would put a multipurpose room into the existing school space — centered in the lunchroom and consequently knocking out a small amount of instructional space, according to project design.

Architectural designs for both standalone (estimated $1.2 million) and an interior (estimated at $850,000) options were created pro-bono by Miller Hull Associates and further refined by NKSD-contract Harthorne Hagen Architects, according to the public records request.

The NKSD’s Capital Facilities Advisory Committee recommended the interior remodel option, and the Spectrum community flared.

“The main reason we don’t like the interior plan is because it violates this and it violates this — all the work we’ve done,” Spectrum principal Chris Wendelyn said, noting the campus master plan and school’s program vision.

Spectrum’s campus master plan is centered around a new, standalone, multipurpose building becoming the focal piece of the school while reorienting its campus with a new entrance, transforming a fallout shelter located on site into a recording arts facility plus demolishing old portables and implementing basic upgrades to the existing school building.

But with a standalone building not fiscally feasible for the NKSD and an interior option unacceptable for the Spectrum community, Wendelyn said he met with NKSD officials Gregg Epperson, Nancy Moffatt, Robin Shoemaker and Supt. Gene Medina shortly before Spring Break to discuss the project’s next steps.

To that meeting, Wendelyn said he offered a compromise.

“The idea came from discussions with the staff here of how can we find a way to move forward,” he said.

The compromise broaches the idea of ridding the campus of two of its dilapidated portable classrooms, while bringing in double portables attached to one another with an flexible partition between the two — much like the NKSD PAL program’s current structures.

“It’s not a building ... it’s not what we envisioned, but it would give us two classrooms and space that could serve some of the functions of a multipurpose room,” Wendelyn said.

“I feel like the double wide (classroom structure) is an OK solution, as long as it’s part of a comprehensive plan,” Spectrum teacher Bob Geballe said.

That plan also includes the other priorities of Spectrum’s master campus plan like the transformation of the fall out shelter into a recording arts studio, campus reorientation, upgrades to the existing building and eventually a standalone multipurpose building.

“You do as many of them as you can until you run out of money,” Wendelyn said. “It’s not all or nothing.”

Wendelyn said the NKSD executives’ response to the proposal seemed “strong” at the April meeting. Medina declined comment on the issue until the plans are reviewed in a public setting.

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