A new Emerald Hills Elementary School is under construction adjacent to the existing school near Lake Tapps. Students are occupying the current building while their new home comes to life.

A new Emerald Hills Elementary School is under construction adjacent to the existing school near Lake Tapps. Students are occupying the current building while their new home comes to life.

Hardhats and heavy equipment continue to dot school grounds

Many students on the Plateau and in the valley have a lot to look forward to in the near future.

The excitement of a new school year has slipped into an established routine, but there’s plenty of activity outside the classroom walls.

In four local districts, construction projects hold the promise of a better future for thousands of students. Here’s a look at where things stand on campuses stretching from Enumclaw to Sumner.


The sights and sounds of construction have become a way of life for Enumclaw High School students during the past couple of years. And, while things are about to ease in the campus core, another major project is about to launch.

The most ambitious offshoot of a voter-passed bond issue was a two-story addition at the heart of the school. Building proceeded faster than was initially expected, meaning a move-in date of next month instead of January.

To celebrate, the community is invited to join with parents, students and staff for a dedication and open house on Oct. 8. The event is planned for 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Everyone will gather in the gymnasium, then move to the commons for a ribbon-cutting. Self-guided tours of the new classrooms will round on the evening.

Students and teachers will occupy their new space beginning Oct. 15.

With that phase of construction wrapped up, contractors will demolish the existing science wing and get ready for another round of construction. New space will include classrooms, a new music room and a wrestling room. That work carries an anticipated completion date of January 2020. Until then, music students will continue trekking across the road for classes held at Enumclaw Middle School.


Things are the busiest in this district, with ambitious projects springing to life both in the valley and on the hill.

Perhaps that should be expected, since voters passed a construction bond in February 2016 that provided more than $145 million for new and renovated spaces.

Leading the way has been construction of a second elementary school in the booming Tahaleh community. Doors opened earlier this month for Tahaleh Heights Elementary’s inaugural class of 270 students.

Among the new facilities under way are a replacement school at Emerald Hills Elementary and an Early Learning Center on the valley floor, adjacent to Sumner Middle School. It is anticipated that both will open a year from now.

The new Emerald Hills Elementary will feature 25 classrooms in kindergarten through fifth grade, designed to serve about 550 students. Also aimed at a population of 550 is the new Tahaleh school, which joins Eismann Elementary in the Tahaleh development south of Bonney Lake.

Additionally, the performing arts center on the Bonney Lake High School campus is in its construction phase. Completion is expected in February 2019.

In the bidding phase is an expansion project at Sumner High. Anticipated to cost more than $60 million, the project will push the SHS capacity to more than 1,600 students. It carries an anticipated completion date of fall 2020.

Portable classrooms continue to arrive on the SHS north parking lot. According to information provided by the district, “Students and staff will use the 16 classrooms, offices and restrooms as transitional learning spaces during construction.”

At Lakeridge Middle School, work continues behind the school on what will eventually be the district’s No. 1 site for track and field competition. When work is completed in November, visitors will see a synthetic turf, improved lighting and increased seating. By moving bleachers from Bonney Lake High to Lakeridge, seating capacity will increase from 100 to well over 600.

Still in the planning phase is an expansion project at Mountain View Middle School. Aside from adding classrooms, the plan includes artificial turf for the football field and a synthetic track surface. The current schedule calls for construction to begin next summer and be completed in the fall of 2020.


Elk Ridge Elementary: Students in kindergarten through fifth grade are in for another year of construction, as plans proceed with a project that will expand the school’s capacity from about 430 students to somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 youngsters.

Phase I has added a two-story classroom building, complete with a covered play area, and students occupied the building when school opened Aug. 8. Phase II brings modernization of the existing building and has already launched, with extensive demolition in the works.

The entire Elk Ridge student population is now housed in the new addition and four portables on campus. It is expected the original building will be completed and ready to welcome students in the spring.

Glacier Middle School: Work on this building – which served as White River High until 2003 – will turn serious during the school year. Bids are to be opened this fall and work will be phased, so students will remain on campus during the extensive project. Eventually, about 75 percent of the existing building will be replaced and there will be new construction as well.

As part of the Glacier plan, the “out front” space will be improved to allow for more parking, additional capacity for those dropping off students and better bus flow. Also on tap are improvements to historic Sheets Field.

Wilkeson Elementary: Students remain displaced, awaiting completion of an expansion and modernization project. While work progresses, K-5 students are attending classes at the White River Educational Services Center campus on 120th.

The project includes an addition to the historic sandstone structure that adds three classrooms, a library, multipurpose room and main office. The original, three-story building is seeing reconfigured classrooms, new plumbing and new flooring.

Students will return to their Wilkeson school in December, according to current plans.


Some things are a bit uncertain now, as the district has applied for a handful of grants that could expand the scope of a current modernization project.

But one thing is for sure: come October, all students will be out of the historic brick building and moved into portables on the school grounds.

The small district — with 176 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, plus another 17 in an early-kindergarten program — is assured of $2.7 million in state funding and $1.75 million courtesy of a voter-approved bond measure. Superintendent Scott Hubbard also has grant requests in the works totaling $1.5 million; the fate of those will be known this fall.

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An Early Learning Center is taking shape in downtown Sumner, on the grounds of Sumner Middle School.

An Early Learning Center is taking shape in downtown Sumner, on the grounds of Sumner Middle School.

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