Issaquah unveils new Liberty High School redesign

June 3, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Residents are getting their first look at the new and improved Liberty High School, as drawings for the school are made available.

The plans include an increased budget and the potential for a second phase of construction, which would include a new classroom wing with science labs and a new arts and technology wing for the school, if district officials and community members determine another construction bond is a viable option.

In 2006, the project was budgeted at $15.17 million. The project’s budget is now $15.4 million, according to the district’s Capital Projects website.

The schematic and site plan drawings are available on the district’s website.

Increases in the budget are mainly because the recession has enabled district officials to save money on construction costs at other project sites, like Issaquah High School and Creekside Elementary School, said Sara Niegowski, district communications director.

“The costs are coming in under what we expected, which is wonderful because in years previous to the economic downturn, construction costs kept escalating,” she said. “Now, we’re within or a bit below our estimated costs when the bond happened, which is why there is a little extra for other projects, like Liberty.”

However, district officials are keeping the original budget estimates for the other projects until they have been completed. Skyline High School and Creekside are scheduled for completion this summer, while the Issaquah High School rebuild is scheduled for completion by fall 2011.

What the increased budget means for Liberty community members is there’s a little wiggle room for upgraded materials and capacity when completing promised items like the school’s new performing arts center.

There is also the option for a two-phase construction plan.

When the community and faculty design committee came together to plan, Niegowski said, they decided to look at the campus’ master plan again to ensure what is being built will be in optimum places for long-term use.

With that in mind, officials planned for all of the promised items in the 2006 construction bond to be built with a potential second phase in mind.

That second phase would include going before voters to ask for another bond in 2012 or 2014 that would allocate between $10 million and $12 million to finish a new classroom wing with science labs and a new arts and technology wing for the school.

Everything promised in the 2006 bond measure will be completed, Niegowski said.

That work includes reoriented offices, an expanded commons, kitchen, new performing arts and black box theaters, video production classroom, music rooms, science laboratories, classrooms, custodial and maintenance area, weight training and auxiliary gym, according to the drawings.

A new bond measure would have to be well in place by next summer if it were to go on the February 2012 ballot.

To develop such a package, district officials would organize a community- and faculty-led bond-planning committee. That bond package would also more than likely include other school modernization and remodeling projects elsewhere in the district.

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One Response to “Issaquah unveils new Liberty High School redesign”

  1. lisa on June 3rd, 2010 11:03 pm

    The 15.4 cost figure is actually the low price for the renovation…. apparently the renovation costs for phase I is around 20-25 million as there will be money from left over costs of skyline, creekside and issaquah HS projects.

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