Federal Way High School construction levy passes
By ANDY HOBBS
Federal Way Mirror Editor
November 7, 2012 · Updated 4:38 PM
The second time is a charm for a levy to rebuild Federal Way High School.
Early election results show the Federal Way Public Schools capital projects levy is passing at 57.4 percent.
The levy was first presented to voters in a Feb. 14 special election, where it failed with 55 percent of voters saying no. To pass, the levy required a simple majority of 50 percent plus one.
In the following months leading up to the general election, the school district engaged the public through multiple forums to communicate the need for a new school.
"This is a monumental moment for Federal Way," Superintendent Rob Neu said at an election night gathering at Scoreboard Pub. He credited efforts by the community, especially Citizens for Federal Way Schools, for the levy's passage. "I was confident it was going to pass, but was overwhelmed by the significance of the margin."
Built in 1929, the current Federal Way High School shows its age. Structural problems with the building include poor plumbing, leaky roofs, inadequate lighting, extensive water damage and outdated restrooms that fail to comply with certain codes and regulations. The building has undergone multiple expansions over the years that created a security hazard with dozens of entrances/exits, along with poor accessibility for students.
"I'm ready to buy a royal blue hard hat," said Lisa Griebel, principal of FWHS, upon hearing that the levy was passing.
Teri Hickel, who volunteered in promoting the levy, credited a district-wide effort for persuading Federal Way voters to say yes.
"This is not just about Federal Way High School," she said on election night. "The kids deserve to be in a place that helps them learn."
The levy will collect $60 million over six years, and will add 92 cents per every $1,000 of assessed evaluation for Federal Way home and property owners. The levy will help fund improvements to the district’s security camera system and playground equipment at 19 elementary schools.
Architecture firm SRG Partnership Inc. was selected to design the new school. Construction is expected to begin in 2014, and should last about three years. Some Federal Way homeowners may qualify for an exemption to the levy depending on age, disability and income.
Early election results in King County were posted Tuesday at kingcounty.gov/elections. Ballots in this all-mail election are still being counted. Results will be updated daily, with certification slated for Nov. 27.
This report contains information from previous Mirror reports.
Contact Federal Way Mirror Editor Andy Hobbs at email@example.com or 1-253-925-5565 (ext 5050).