Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why was there such a difference ($14 million) between what the District estimated for the Sumner High School project and what the bid was?

    • A combination of factors resulted in the bid exceeding the District’s bond planning. Those changed circumstances included an overheated construction market, complexity of phasing of the project and regulatory requirements that were not known during design.
      • In 2015 during bond planning, the construction market was still recovering from the economic downturn. With the strength and number of projects in the Puget Sound area during 2018, contractors could pick and choose their projects. The available bidders could choose to pursue other work that had less complexity and could be completed over a shorter period of time. As a result, the District had only one bidder which is disadvantageous for competitive pricing.
      • The Project’s complexity involved multiple phases to keep the school open and functioning during construction which resulted in increased costs.
      • Several requirements introduced by the City relating to sidewalks and ADA frontage upgrades along all the entire perimeter of the District campus and historical designed street lighting added unanticipated costs to the Project.

    What is the goal for the number of classrooms to be added to Sumner High School?

    • Our goal is to add enough classrooms to move all classes out of the 8 portables that have been located on the site for several years.  The goal is to add 8 new science classrooms and add or remodel 8 general education classrooms to eliminate the portables that have housed students.  This will provide us with enough capacity to house all our classes in permanent space through at least 2023. We have brought a number of extra portables onto the site to accommodate our students during construction.

    What is the District’s timeline to start construction at Sumner High School?

    • Ideally, we’d like to start tomorrow. Realistically, we have not set a hard date. We want the Task Force and Hainline to have time to ensure we have a reasonable and sustainable path forward for the high school. Once the Task Force’s recommendation is complete, the community has had their chance to weigh in on the proposed path, and the School Board has made their decision, the project will move into the design phase; review under the City’s development and permitting requirements; and be re-bid. These elements may take approximately 12 – 15 months. Construction, depending upon the complexity of the project approved by the School Board, will take between 16
      – 20 months. We do want to hurry, but we really want to make sure we do it right.

    What timeline is the District planning for when considering growth and how much capacity to build into the high school?

    • The District’s high school growth projections for the Sumner High School attendance boundaries show that the High School project will comfortably provide classroom capacity through at least 2023 and likely longer.

    What are the “soft costs” that people talk about in the budget?

    • The costs of construction projects include both costs known as “hard costs” and “soft costs”.  Hard costs represent the physical elements of constructing a building.   Soft costs represent a significant portion of the construction costs.  Soft costs typically are associated with nontangible items, such as architectural and design work, geotechnical, environmental and traffic studies, permitting and inspection fees, project management, equipment rental, and local and state sales taxes.

    How long should a new school building last? 

    • The Washington Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI) requires that buildings be designed for at least a 30-year lifespan in order to qualify for the school construction assistance program.

    How long will the existing buildings on the campus last?

    • The current buildings were all built or remodeled at different time frames from the 1950s through the late 1990s and to different building standards.  It is challenging to say how many more years an old building will last. Much like a house, it’s more important to understand how much it is costing each year to keep the building in good condition. There comes a time when consideration should be given to doing a complete remodel or tear down and build new as a more cost effective approach.

    We understand $65 million is the total budget for the high school project, but that is not near enough to pay for a complete “new” high school. Is there an option to add to that budget so we can do more?

    • The 2016 Bond Measure allocated construction funds for modernization and expansion of the high school.  To add to the budget would require placing another bond measure for the high school before the community and would put on hold the need for additional classroom space to move students out of portables until a bond was passed.   Improving the high school through expansion or modernization provides needed classroom space while ensuring those improvements can be built upon in the context of a master plan. The Task Force, with the facilitation of Hainline, has been tasked with reviewing, studying and evaluating the bond goals, the budget, the project constraints, and the site in light of current state and local circumstances to lead to a recommendation of an appropriate pathway for the School Board’s consideration. 

    What is the alternative for the pool? What did the 2016 Bond Measure say about the pool? Is there dedicated funding for a new pool?

    • The 2016 Bond Measure included a goal of the District assisting in the funding for the construction of a new pool by another municipality.  At that time, the City of Bonney Lake had discussed including an aquatics facility as part of its intended master planning for the Mid-Town Park and the School Board had authorized negotiations with the City to assist with funding in an amount not to exceed $6.6 million.  Master planning by the City did not move forward, and the District’s funds for a pool are part of the budget for the High School project.  The Task Force is discussing the current and future status of the pool as part of its work in evaluating the direction of the Sumner High School project and the campus as a whole.

    Why can’t the pool at Sumner High School just be kept and upgraded? 

    • The Sumner High School pool was opened in 1970 with some renovation occurring in 1985.  All mechanical systems and interior features are beyond their period of useful life.  Given the age and condition of the building, a renovation of the building would require substantial demolition, including the interior, roof, and floor with retention of only the exterior walls and glulam beams although retrofitting will likely be necessary to bring up to current code standards.  Therefore, the costs associated with necessary, nearly total renovation of the pool is not an economically prudent decision when compared to the cost of a new pool and would not add value to the community.  A renovated facility would still not meet current USA swim performance standards for a competition facility.    To minimize wear and tear on the pool, it is now used only by student athletes and swim clubs.