News

Clock's ticking toward opening of new middle school

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

The newest school in Federal Way Public Schools is expected to be officially completed later this month.

District officials are expected to get the keys from the contractor Aug. 22, a little more than a year from the time construction started. The school’s staff will have just a couple of weeks to move in before students arrive on the first day Sept. 6.

The $17 million facility on South 360th Street is the seventh middle school in the district and the last of three schools built from a bond passed by voters in 1999. Truman and Todd Beamer high schools were also built with the bond dollars.

Math and science are the focus in the approximately 70,000-square-foot Sequoyah Middle School. While construction crews have labored from summer to summer on the school, principal Mark Demick has hired his staff and planned the school’s curriculum and feel. The staff, district administrators and parents have also been involved in how the school will operate.

As many as 700 students are expected to populate the school, alleviating the enrollment bulge at some of its sister middle schools.

Despite starting two weeks late in the 2004 construction season, Rod Leland, the district’s facilities director, has remained confident the school would be finished on time for the 2005-06 school year.

Last summer, the district acceped a bid by a Tacoma company, which told told district officials shortly afterward that its bid had an error and the correct cost was $400,000 more than originally approved. The company asked tobe released from the contract. The district obliged, even though it wasn’t required.

A second general contractor, Bailey Construction, was awarded the wor, but was late getting started because of the first company’s error.

At the School Board’s meeting July 26, Leland reported the landscaping was going in and furniture and equipment would start moving in before the contractor completed work.

The school has a multi-purpose field made of artificial turf, and many of the interior walls are removable. As the school’s needs change, the building’s interior configuration can be altered. The exterior walls are a mix of masonry blocks and steel panels with foam core insulation. Those steel walls were made in a factory and brought to the job site. They were easier to install, thus costing the district less money building them on the job site, officials said.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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