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Kingston High construction nears

KINGSTON — Depending upon a judge’s decision over an ongoing site appeal, the Little City by the Sea may soon begin to witness the entrance of its newest neighbor — a high school.

The North Kitsap School District has put the project of constructing a $37.9 million school out for contractors to bid on. And by early May, the school board will likely be on its way to hiring the company that will do the job.

That would slate the start of construction — clearing, grading and preparing the site for the school — in early July.

“We’ll have four months to do site work,” said NKSD’s Capital Programs Director Robin Shoemaker. “And that is enough to keep up the normal pace.”

The pace includes a planned opening of the grades nine-12 high school in September 2007 that will not only educate up to 800 secondary students but will also change the entire grade configuration of the school district. Once opened, the new school and current North Kitsap High School will take in the district’s ninth graders and Kingston and Poulsbo junior highs will become sixth-through-eighth grade middle schools. The end result will remove sixth graders from North Kitsap’s seven elementary schools and alleviate overcrowding.

However, the plan to begin construction still hinges on an appeal to the school district’s application for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), needed to clear the site. Neighbors Jeff Owen and Terry Patterson, who primarily weren’t satisfied with testing of the adjacent Nike site by the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Health and a private firm last year, brought the case to court.

Arguments from the school district and Owen and Patterson’s attorneys were heard March 31 and a decision will be handed down by the Superior Court this Friday.

Regardless of the judge’s decision, the school district already faces a 1 percent escalation in price due to the delay in court, estimated at $245,000. But even with that amount, Shoemaker is confident the district can finish all projects — including the new high school — outlined in the $60.1 million 2001 voter approved bond.

“I’m not scared at this point,” she said. “I think the financial picture’s healthy. And we’re staying within the confines of the Kingston High School budget.”

Shoemaker, who will be walking the KHS site with potential contractors today, said she feels that with only two renovation projects remaining after the Poulsbo Junior High School renovation and the construction of Kingston High School, the district isn’t far from completing the bond’s scope.

Already renovated in the district has been the pool and auditorium ($4.1 million), Pearson Elementary School ($5 million), Poulsbo Elementary School ($5.9 million), and the NKHS gym and former “H” building ($8.8 million).

The only current construction is at Suquamish Elementary School ($4.8 million).

Aside from KHS, upcoming this summer is the start of the Poulsbo Junior High School’s renovation ($8.1 million). Shoemaker anticipates the contractor on the PJH project will be named at the April 28 school board meeting.

The two other projects are the addition of a multipurpose room at Spectrum Community School ($600,000) and a renovation of NKHS’ main building ($12.7 million).

Once the contractor — and price — is named for the Kingston High School project in May, Shoemaker anticipates the district’s fiscal standing will become much clearer.

“We’re going to know a lot after May 5,” she said. “We won’t have as many blanks left at that point.”

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