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KCAC gets update on plans

KINGSTON — Members of the Kingston Citizens Advisory Committee had mixed reactions to last week’s presentation on the development of Kingston High School.

Some were comforted by the careful efforts involved in the planning process while others were hoping more information would be provided.

Nick Jewett, a member of the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee for the North Kitsap School District, presented the latest information Jan. 7 to KCAC members. North Kitsap School District board member Ed Strickland was also present.

Jewett stressed how the school board and administration are trying to stick to the “concrete” opening date of Fall 2006.

The process to design the school is scheduled to take place between now and the spring, with major decisions being made by the end of next summer, he said. The school site is located on West Kingston Road, next to the district’s bus barn and Spectrum Community School.

At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency and other similar agencies are looking into possible soil contamination on the site. In response, the school district has hired an outside agency to investigate the soils but only preliminary results have been reported so far, Jewett said.

School board members are working to make the site as safe as possible, he emphasized.

“None of them would dream of endangering students,” Jewett said. “They are going to take whatever precautions they need to take.”

On a positive note, Jewett reported that CFAC members have seen the preliminary design schematics.

“The financial gods have been shining on the district,” Jewett said, noting the county commissioners’ recent decision not to increase impact fees neither hurt nor helped the district’s budget for the new high school.

School board members want something functional that will last for 30 years but is attractive, too, Strickland said, noting it will be 30 years before state funding will be available for major repairs.

The district is also considering installing an artificial turf field and designing the cafeteria for multiple uses, such as a performance space, Jewett said.

While Jewett and Strickland said they realized their reports covered the bare essentials, they encouraged members to attend the Jan. 15 public meeting at the Kingston Junior High Library where more information is expected to be released.

“It’s going to be a fantastic facility and it won’t be easy,” Jewett said.

Some members of the committee were pleased with the report. Other were not, such as at-large member and Stillwaters Environmental Center administration director Naomi Maasberg.

Maasberg said she was concerned with the “encroachment” on the nearby habitat corridor and impact on wetlands by the proposed roadways through the campus.

“I didn’t have too much of a reaction,” she said about the presentation. “I’m hoping at the public meeting on (Jan. 15) there will be more information and details and drawings and maps.”

Maasberg said she also hopes people will see how the new layout and site plan will affect the trees and wetlands.

KCAC member and former Edmonds School District teacher Tom Coultas said he was “content” with the information provided and particularly with Strickland’s presentation.

“I liked his approach and concern with the chemicals in the ground and I think he handled it very well,” Coultas said.

He also said he liked that the district wants to construct a quality building.

“I like the long-term approach about building something and making sure it’s going to last,” Coultas said.

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