Kingston school to land on B2 site

POULSBO — After weighing the pros and cons of “B2” one more time, an all-new North Kitsap School Board of Directors voted to build the new Kingston high school on the school-district proposed site by a 4-1 vote.

“The bottom line is that we try to provide the best quality education we can ... I think we can provide that on this site,” said newly-elected board vice-president Dan Delaney.

Board member Dick Endresen was the sole dissenting vote.

The decision gives the go-ahead to Bassetti Architects to finalize the schematic design of the site for funding considerations by the board in January.

However, many new concerns and comments came before the vote, including a preliminary report from Kane Environmental and letter from the Stillwaters group, an environmental organization, expressing disapproval of site B2.

Stillwaters representative Naomi Maasberg read a letter written by the group’s president Joleen Palmer on behalf of its board.

“If woods are cut now (to build the B2 site), they cannot be replaced to their current habitat status for decades, if ever ... we remind you if you destroy the habitat corridor and wetlands that exist here, you will not have the wildlife and environment that you want the students to be studying,” Maasberg read.

Tom Cammarata of Kane Environmental came before the board to address the current process of evaluating the site for toxic chemicals left behind by the army’s Nike missile site.

Kane’s testing, conducted Nov. 24 and 25, has yielded preliminary results, which Cammarata revealed to the board. After boring in several areas at the site, Cammarata presented three main aspects of possible concern, the first of which was the discovery of Methylene chloride — a volatile organic compound — on the site.

“We’re not sure why (Methylene chloride) is there,” Cammarata said, noting no source had yet been found. “It’s very puzzling why it is there.”

Cammarata said the compound was not in the water table and only existed in the soil. He also noted that he believed it “did not pose any threat.”

There were some metals found in the water table, but Chromium 6, one of the more dangerous, was not present at this point in the environmental firm’s investigation.

Finally, through the pavement of the school district’s bus barn, Kane discovered two and a half feet below the surface “dibenzyl phrenon,” which is potentially dangerous. But Cammarata said none of the preliminary findings were a case for immediacy.

“I have nothing that tells me this is an emergency, nothing that tells me this site needs an immediate clean-up,” Cammarata commented.

EPA officials, which made their first walk-through of the site the same day as the school board meeting, said they’re close to finishing a preliminary report. The governmental organization’s full report is not due until August, one year from the original petition by concerned citizen Terry Benish to test the site. Kane Environmental’s study of the site could by done by Christmas, Cammarata said.

The board meeting also included the official transition of new board members Dan Delaney and Ed Strickland taking their seats on the board as retiring members Helen Hoover and Brad Camp stepped down. Newly re-elected member Catherine Ahl was also elected president of the board, replacing Bethany McDonald and Dan Delaney was elected vice-president. Both votes were unanimous.

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