Construction of Redmond's new STEM school won't be finished in time for the start of the 2012-2013 school year following two appeals to the site's conditional use permit, the announced today.
The permitting delays have pushed completion of the first phase of construction until late fall or early winter; in the meantime, STEM school students will be housed at Eastlake High School in Sammamish—approximately four miles from the planned STEM school site in southeast Redmond. (STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.)
“I know the Eastlake staff, students and parents will be gracious hosts for their STEM school counterparts during this short-term stay,” LWSD Superintendent Dr. Chip Kimball said in a district news release. “I recognize the inconvenience involved and appreciate their understanding.”
The district will offer bus transportation to STEM school students—all of whom will be in ninth or 10th grade next year—between their home high school and Eastlake. LWSD spokeswoman Kathryn Reith said Eastlake had already planned to add a second entrance in preparation for the new freshmen on campus.
“They’re making some traffic modifications already, but certainly we hope that as many STEM school students as possible take those buses from their home high schools,” Reith said.
Reith said the district is aware the bus ride from the opposite end of the district will be lengthy but added that many STEM school students were already prepared to increase their travel times to get to the permanent property, located next to Louisa May Alcott Elementary.
“From Lake Washington (High School) and Juanita, it’s not going to be short, but it wouldn’t be all that much shorter to go to Alcott, either,” Reith said.
were filed last December and were denied last week, according to the district's news release. Construction on the new school can begin after a 21-day waiting period, assuming there is no further legal action taken against the district.
LWSD says it made the decision to house the school at Eastlake "after extensive research into alternatives," including seeking out space in neighboring districts and at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, as well as looking for warehouse space available for a short-term lease. None of these efforts was successful, the district said.
The change to four-year high schools, along with a new classroom wing and other additions at Eastlake will push the school's capacity to 1,840 students, according to the district's news release. The Renaissance School of Art and Reasoning, a LWSD choice middle school, had already planned to , and the STEM school will have no impact on the Renaissance School, Reith said.
All of these changes mean Eastlake has the capacity to house the STEM school during the next school year, Kimball said.
“I am disappointed that this new school will be in temporary quarters for a while,” Kimball said in the news release, “but we are fortunate that Eastlake will be able to host it this fall. In future years, Eastlake will need that space.”
Click here to see an archive of Patch stories on the STEM school project.
Editor's note: This story was modified at 2:15 p.m. to include comment from LWSD spokeswoman Kathryn Reith.