Optimism abounds after FWHS construction levy victory

Kelly Tanner and Kris Milholland of Citizens for Federal Way Schools celebrate election night at the Scoreboard Pub after learning the capital projects levy is passing. - Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror
Kelly Tanner and Kris Milholland of Citizens for Federal Way Schools celebrate election night at the Scoreboard Pub after learning the capital projects levy is passing.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror

With the successful passage of the capital projects levy to rebuild Federal Way High School (FWHS), staff, administrators and board members of Federal Way Public Schools reflected on the victory.

FWHS principal Lisa Greibel led the way at Nov. 13 school board meeting, giving thanks to Superintendent Rob Neu's leadership in getting her students a new building in the near future.

"I have a special thanks to Superintendent Neu. You may not remember this, but the first time I met you, you were touring all the many schools we have in our district and you were running through our building, shaking hands and saying 'Hi,'" Griebel said. "You took a moment to look me in the eye and say, 'We're going to get you a new building here. I promise, as superintendent, one of the things we're going to do is rebuild this building for the students and all the families here at Federal Way High School.'"

Griebel then presented Neu with a present of a royal blue (FWHS colors) construction shirt, and a royal blue hardhat for Neu to wear when he visits FWHS as the construction process gets under way in coming years.

Neu thanked Griebel for the gifts and shared his thoughts on the work yet to be done.

"The real work is ahead of us. I'm really anticipating and looking forward to working with you Lisa, the Federal Way community, not only the Federal Way High School community, but the broader community, in designing a gem of an educational facility that will meet student needs in the immediate future, as well as far into the future," Neu said. "What an exciting time for us."

Board member Danny Peterson said he took the chance to visit FWHS the day after the election, and said the energy in the school is remarkable now that a new building is on the horizon.

"I did get to…go to Federal Way High School and walk through the halls and high-five teachers, Mrs. Griebel, the staff, and everybody," Peterson said with his usual enthusiasm. "And it's so great to see our community make that investment. I know there are many families in our community who don't necessarily have school-age children, but they see the value of building that new high school and investing in our schools. And I just want to say to our community, thank you for doing that."

Board president Tony Moore thanked the voters for their willingness to approve the six-year, $60 million levy in these tumultuous economic times.

"In times of turmoil, and financial calamity, it's great to see the people who live in this city, telling our children, that they matter, and that the school they go to and the opportunities they have are important," Moore said. "It is a big step to rebuild the facility, and I want to thank the voters."

About the levy

In the Nov. 6 election, the levy passed. The lastest results show the levy passing with 59.87 percent of the vote.

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.


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