Board goes full- steam ahead for KHS

POULSBO — Despite an Aug. 27 EPA report date and uncertainty with receiving county site permits, the North Kitsap School Board is full-steam ahead in building a new high school off West Kingston Road.

“We can advise staff to proceed as planned,” said Board Vice President Dan Delaney at Wednesday’s bi-weekly meeting. “Because I’m confident from Kane (Environmental) that nothing is going to be found on that site.”

Kane, the Seattle-based firm that studied the site at a cost to the district of about $115,000, told the district two weeks ago that human health was not at risk by putting a school on the site. But the former Nike site that was used from 1954 to 1975 by the army has yet to be tested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

That fact might see the Kitsap County Department of Community of Development hesitant to issue some key permits on the site. Nonetheless, Delaney added that moving forward was crucial given the “...timeline has such a heavy impact on the community.”

Capital Programs Director Robin Shoemaker reported that the final Environmental Impact Statement for the West Kingston site will be completed May 6. She added that the County Hearing Examiner would likely hold a public hearing June 10, and either approve or deny the Conditional Use Permits and the Site Development Permits soon after.

“The issue becomes whether the county feels comfortable issuing permits,” Shoemaker said. “They are confident about the CUP, but not as comfortable with the Site Development Activity Permit.”

Board member Dick Endresen did point out that the county might be hesitant to issue permits due to legal exposure if the EPA finds the West Kingston site to be contaminated.

“(The County) will be extremely careful in issuing permits,” Endresen said.

The school district’s timeline is to begin clearing the West Kingston site in June, and to grade and prepare the property for construction of the new school July through October.

Bassetti Architects representative Don Brubeck informed the board that pending the approval of the Conditional Use and Site Development Permits by the county, this summer’s work on the high school would be used primarily for clearing the property.

Logging of the property is slated to begin in June, pending county permit approval. The stumps of the logging would be left in place to prevent erosion.

Brubeck added that his architect team has no qualms with the site, given the Kane testing.

“Our design team has 100 percent confidence in this site,” Brubeck told the board Wednesday. “It does seem like people are raising objections on fairly flimsy grounds.”

Nick Jewett of the NKSD Capital Facilities Activities Committee was also on hand at the meeting, and told the school board to “proceed strongly” in the site development.

He added that clearing would not disturb any undiscovered environmental problems on the site.

“No one’s being exposed and logging isn’t going to change that,” Jewett said.

Board members Ed Strickland and Endresen were also confident in clearing the property.

“Someone’s going to cut down those trees and move the dirt anyway,” Strickland said.

“We might even make money on the deal,” Endresen added.

Brubeck also mentioned that School Superintendent Gene Medina has asked that “temporary measures” be taken to protect the Spectrum school from noise and dust the clearing would bring. A wall may be erected before a row of trees will be planted to permanently separate the two schools, Brubeck added.

The question of who will be doing the mill work for the freshly logged property is still up in the air. The Suquamish Tribe was mentioned as a potential candidate but the district is hoping it will be able to off-set logging costs, no matter who does the work.

“Any opportunity we have to put this money back into our own economy is one we should take note of,” Jewett said.

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