Beamer's pieces falling into place



First came the floors, walls and ceilings. Next is the furniture, followed by the students.

That’s the status of Todd Beamer High School as it draws closer to opening in September, giving Federal Way Public Schools its fourth full-size high school.

The school district began taking possession of the new $44 million school June 20, two days later than originally scheduled with contractor Wick Constructors. Classrooms and the gymnasium are ready, and the remaining space is expected be turned over to the district in mid-July, officials said.

Some of the final steps before students start showing up include a test July 21 of the school’s fire alarm system by the Federal Way Fire Department and the arrival of furniture Aug. 1. The alarm test will be one of the keys to receiving an occupancy permit –– approval for the public to enter –– from the city of Federal Way. The current conditional occupancy allows furnishings and equipment to be moved in, officials said.

District superintendent Tom Murphy said plans won’t be affected by a contractual dispute between Wick and Graham Steel. The latter, which supplied steel for the school’s construction, reportedly was late on some deliveries of material to Wick, disrupting the construction schedule.

Officials of the companies couldn’t be reached for comment.

Wick’s work on the construction has been “excellent,” Murphy said. “They’re an extremely competent contractor.”

Murphy and Rod Leland, director of capital projects for the district, also applauded the city for its cooperation on inspections and other governmental processes. They said the project has gone smoothly as a result.

“The best part is we won’t have heartburn over what it took to get everything done,” Leland said.

Beamer is on a 38-acre site on 16th Avenue South. The school’s 162,000 square feet, designed for 1,300 students, includes 41 classrooms, eight science labs and a 7,000 square-feet library. The first day of classes will be Sept. 2.

The first new high school in the district since the 1970s is joining Thomas Jefferson, Decatur, Federal Way and Truman. The latter is an alternative school.

Beamer gets its name from one of the passengers who apparently helped thwart hijackers’ plans to fly an airliner into a target during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the U.S. The plane crashed in Pennsylvania, killing all aboard, after an apparent struggle between passengers and the hijackers.

The School Board last year chose Beamer from among names nominated by the public.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, Sports editor Casey Olson contributed to this report.

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