With an ever-outgrowing student population and an empty lot owned by the Auburn School District, rumors and hope of a new middle school have churned for years. As ASD projects are expected to end in 2024, the district has begun to consider capital improvement plans for the following years; including a new middle school.
Despite the expected slowing in student enrollment, overcrowding at Mt. Baker Middle School is a concern. The approximate 2021-22 student body was 940 in a school with a capacity of 837. Many of those who attend Mt. Baker come from Lakeland Hills. The ASD-owned land on Sumner Tapps Hwy E & Thomas Ave SE is, conveniently, intended for a fifth middle school.
According to the district’s Capital Construction Plan, the estimated cost to build a new middle school would be $112,000,000. The ASD will start planning the middle school in 2024. “Our process in the past has included community input through an Ad Hoc Committee and I expect we will do the same for the next stage of facility planning,” said Cindi Blansfield, Associate Superintendent of Business & Operations.
The District anticipates running a Capital Bond Measure in 2026 states the Capital Construction Plan. If voters approve the bond, construction is planned to begin in 2026 and finish in 2027. The plan is for the school to open in the 2027-2028 school year. Any remaining may also be used to replace one more existing school.
New School Site Progress
The new Lea Hill and the new Chinook Elementary opened this fall for students and staff. Construction for the last school, Terminal Park Elementary, which is part of the 2016 bond package approved by voters in 2016 also began this fall. It is expected to open in the fall of 2023. All projects of this bond will be completed by 2024-2025.
When Terminal Park opens, turf fields will be installed at Olympic Middle School and the old Olympic, which is currently being used as an interim facility.
Below are schools that were included in the $456,056,000 bond in 2016.
- Olympic Middle School was built in 1957 and was rebuilt and opened to students in 2019
- Bowman Creek Elementary is still a new school that was built and opened in 2020
- Dick Scobee Elementary was originally built in 1954 and was rebuilt and opened in 2020
- Pioneer Elementary was built in 1959 and was rebuilt in 2021
- Willow Crest Elementary is another new school that was completed and opened in 2022.
–Willow Crest served as the interim location for Lea Hill Elementary during the 2021-22 school year. It opened for the 2022-23 school year as Willow Crest.
- Lea Hill Elementary was built in 1965 and was rebuilt and opened to students in 2022
- Chinook Elementary was built in 1963 and was rebuilt and opened to students in 2022.
- Terminal Park Elementary was built in 1945 and was the oldest school in ASD. Construction began this fall and is expected to open in the fall of 2023