Kingston High project shifts focus

KINGSTON — Construction of everything starts from the ground up and Kingston High School’s foundations are being poured as site work nears its winter cutoff date.

While 20 percent of the time allotted to build the new school has passed, the project is on track, said North Kitsap School District capital projects director Robin Shoemaker.

The focus at KHS is now shifting from clearing and grading of the site to the buildings’ foundations. The plot, just off West Kingston Road, will contain a two-story school building and a one-story building containing the gymnasium and choral/theater and band rooms.

Shoemaker and the district have been meeting with officials from Kitsap County on a weekly basis and are awaiting a decision of when to stop the site work. She expects the call within the coming weeks.

“We always knew we would face this off-period,” Shoemaker said. “We are dealing with moisture sensitive soils which need time to drain before they are suitable to build on.”

The nearly 36 acres of usable land is spotted with two wetlands. The larger of the two — on the western edge of the property — is fed from Carpenter Lake, and the central wetlands stand alone. The two are connected by a seasonal stream which will separate student parking from the campus. A pedestrian bridge will connect the sites.

“We’ve done all of the primary cutting and filling and most areas have been graded,” Shoemaker said of site work. “Few areas still need additional fine tuning.”

As soon as the county makes the call, earth work will cease until April 2006. But the site is ready for winter, Shoemaker said. Work has already begun on the foundations of the school building on the northwest corner of the property, and the walls of the building adjacent to the north building are being erected.

“(The) ideal is to get the foundation in in the next 20-30 days and start getting the slab finalized,” said Floyd Bayless, construction administrator for URS Construction. The slab will be made of three-tone bricks, and the steel that will support it is set to arrive in November, Bayless said.

A quarry rock road will provide improved access for materials to arrive and depart from the entrance to the school plot during the wettest months. The goal of getting the road paved before winter fell short, but Shoemaker is confident the rocks will prove sufficient.

The construction period runs into early 2007, which allows more than a year for the remainder of the site work as well as the erecting of the two buildings, which equal 113,000-square feet, collectively.

Cost of this entire project rings up to $23.3 million.

State of the art high school to be offered

When finished, the school should be state of the art and configured differently than other schools in the district.

“Outstanding,” Supt. Gene Medina said of building’s technology. “It will have Internet connections in every room as well as capability for fiber optics.”

The commons area of the school is also technologically capable of converting into a performing arts venue. The room will already be acoustically sound, and seats will mechanically swing down from the ceiling when needed.

The classrooms will be constructed into four clusters — two on each floor — paving the way for increased communication the district has been craving. According to floor plans, each cluster will contain four classrooms. Two classrooms will be on each side of a central student work area. Additionally, a project lab, science room and a teacher planning area will all be incorporated within each cluster.

“The issue is focusing on the learning for students with teachers working together,” Medina said, adding that this type of floor plan will work nicely for such aspirations. “If we all work together, then we will all know what’s going on. It’s a whole different relationship.”

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