Bainbridge Island School District discussing possibility of bond measure

Replacement of Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary could cost an estimated $38.9 million.

The Bainbridge Island School District may ask the public to support a bond measure for new school buildings in the near future.

Back in 2005, several buildings were identified in the district’s master plan to be scheduled for replacement or repair over a number of years. Now, the district is reviewing its master plan again — and the school board may decide by October whether or not to put it on February’s ballot, said Tamela Van Winkle, director of facilities and capital projects for the district.

Over the last few weeks, Bainbridge school board members have met with the district’s capital projects committee to discuss which buildings are in need of the most work, said Van Winkle.

Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary needs to be replaced, as does the Bainbridge High School’s 100 Building, she said.

A replacement of Blakely will cost an estimated $38.9 million. The BHS 100 Building will cost an estimated $13.75 million to replace.

On top of that, additional funds would be set aside for upkeep of buildings.

However, those decisions are not set in stone just yet. The district still has plenty of other ways to mix and match which projects come first, Van Winkle explained.

“There will continue to be board discussions about the master plan until a decision is made,” she said, adding that presentations will be made in August and beyond.

The total cost of any bond measure is still undetermined.

“We don’t know what [official numbers] it could be yet. It could be any number of [projects] things,” Van Winkle said.

The board is considering various options on bond amounts, which range from $50 million to $80 million, depending on what’s chosen for repair and replacement.

While there are several scenarios that have been presented to the district, the most recent offers the possibility to replace one school and a part of another.

“It appears that the initial thinking would be to replace Blakely, and we’re talking about the 100 Building,” she said. “The board and district are very interested in making sure that we talk about the buildings on the central campus, and that we have a comprehensive conversation about those buildings.”

Blakely and the BHS building were chosen because a “significant amount of work needs to be done,” Van Winkle said.

Issues range from roofing and structural problems to asbestos removal and a need for better facility layouts for students.

“I think that the needs are immediate and critical,” she added.

Although several district buildings have been picked for upgrades or replacement in the upcoming years as part of the master plan, it would be far too costly to try and fix all of the buildings at the same time, which is why the potential plans extend out to 2074.

Van Winkle said in coming months that the district hopes to generate enough public interest in the topic to have community discussions on bond options.

“Just be aware that the conversation has started with the school board about what the facilities need. With the updated master plan, we’ve identified what the need is and the board will be making a decision with how they will approach those needs,” she said.

“We’re moving forward with continued analysis. And, of course, we will have a conversation with the community,” Van Winkle added.

The district’s last bond measure of $41.9 million was approved in 2009 and paid for, in part, a new Captain Charles Wilkes Elementary.

More updates will be available to the public at upcoming BISD meetings.

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