Construction of the new Thomas Jefferson High School officially broke ground on Tuesday afternoon.
Under the protection of a red commemorative umbrella, Superintendent Tammy Campbell welcomed and thanked a crowd to the groundbreaking ceremony on Dec. 10.
Huddled under their own umbrellas and raincoat hoods for protection from the drizzle, current and former members of the Federal Way Public School Board, government officials, construction crews and project contractors, community leaders, school staff, and students gathered at the ceremony.
Originally built in 1968, Thomas Jefferson is the oldest of the four high schools in the school district.
The new building is expected to open in fall 2021, according to the district. Full construction and additional site work completion is expected by winter 2022.
The new school will have a capacity of 1,600. With community input, the school is designed by Bassetti Architects and constructed by Cornerstone General Contractors.
The building construction cost is estimated to be approximately $100 million, the district stated.
Highlights from the new building include two courtyard spaces for gathering and outdoor learning opportunities in connecting with the district’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, according to a press release. The site will also feature a 400-seat theater and improved security by means of secure entryways and security cameras.
Upon completion of Thomas Jefferson’s reconstruction, 25% of the district will consist of brand new buildings, said school board President Geoffrey McAnalloy.
Approved by voters in November 2017, a school construction bond of $450 million was allocated to Federal Way Public Schools to improve eight total schools, including Thomas Jefferson High School, Totem and Illahee middle schools, and Olympic View, Lake Grove, Mirror Lake, Star Lake and Wildwood elementary schools, as well as improvements for Memorial Stadium.
“This is going to be quite a ride,” said Adrienne Chacon, principal of Thomas Jefferson. “We are trying so hard to honor the traditions of the past as we move forward with a new beginning to the future.”