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Frequently Asked Questions


Is the project on budget?

Yes. While increases in construction costs have resulted in plan adjustments, the District remains committed to keeping the project within budget parameters while delivering on each of the priority areas identified by the community.

What is the overall construction cost of the elementary school?

The elementary school construction cost is $35,070,608.

Why have construction and construction-related costs escalated so rapidly?

Construction and construction-associated costs throughout the region, and specifically Southwest Washington, have been escalating over the past two years at historically unprecedented high rates. These cost escalations have been well-documented by regional and national media, and are largely attributed to the following factors (click links to show associated graphs):

Market conditions and tariff/trade cost trends
NW regional growth and Construction labor availability
Construction costs and K-12 bond dollars

How will the new school assist with student learning?

The new elementary school was planned around the most current and enduring principles of 21st Century learning. The physical learning environment was planned in collaboration with a broad and varied stakeholder group known as the Design Advisory Committee (DAC). Comprised of educators, administrators and community members, the DAC conceived of flexible, adaptable and agile spaces that provide extended learning inside and outside of the traditional classroom. 

Each grade level is organized into its own small learning community and equipped with a commons, blending learning opportunities between five classrooms. These commons spaces are also equipped with a small group room for individualized and small group learning. Additionally, educators have a teacher planning room in each small learning community.

STEM learning opportunities now has its own space within the new elementary school with the build out of a "Davinci Room." This room with a fancy name is simply another name for a flexible classroom that provides dedicated learning space for Art and Science. This space will have ample storage, technology and will even come equipped with a kiln for hands-on art projects. The entire school will have the latest technology with interactive displays and data infrastructure.

How is the District addressing climate control at the elementary school?

The bond measure approved by voters in 2018 included funding for cooling upgrades at the existing high school. In addition to that promise, and because of its connection, the middle school addition will share a chiller and mechanical system with the high school allowing for mechanical cooling there as well. Since the elementary school will be on it’s own site, it will have its own climate system that utilizes a Displacement Ventilation – a cost-effective alternative to mechanical cooling and a popular air treatment option for schools due to its energy efficiency, ability to improve air quality and low long-term operational costs.

Oriented to reduce solar gain, the new elementary building also includes several passive cooling features such as a superior thermal envelope, sunshades at south-facing windows and high-performance Low-E glass glazing.

When will the new elementary school be open?

The new elementary school will be open to students January 2021 (post-winter break 2020).

How does the new school improve student safety?

The new elementary school will have a safe and secure vestibule at the entry that is also warm and welcoming. Parent and student drop-off will be completely separated from the bus drop-off. The entire building will be equipped with access controls. In addition to ample passive supervision throughout the building and site, there will be video surveillance placed in strategic locations. Each Small Learning Community is secured by one set of double doors that can be automatically locked down in case of an emergency, effectively securing each grade level from one point of entry. Exterior stairs connecting each Small Learning Community allows for expedient exiting in case of an emergency.

How can I provide feedback?

You can write to us at schoolbond@kalamaschools.org. Members of the public can also weigh in during our next project update town hall and listening session on Tuesday, October 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

This page will be updated with additional questions and answers.