Three Lake Stevens elementary schools will come togetherStaff is already looking for ways to
Both Hillcrest and Mt. Pilchuck students have been housed in portables while their schools are currently being modernized.
After much talk and many rumors, the Lake Stevens School District has found a way to complete the $12.5 million renovation of Sunnycrest Elementary with the least amount of disruption or cost.
Unfortunately, when a renovation takes place, like the ones taking place at both Hillcrest and Mt. Pilchuck this year and the one that will occur at Sunnycrest next year, there will always be some sort of disruption for students.
At a meeting held last Thursday, Dec. 13, the Lake Stevens School District explained what their plans were for the 2008-2009 school year and answered questions from concerned parents.
Dr. David Burgess, Superintendent of Lake Stevens School District explained that it would be almost impossible to renovate Sunnycrest with students still attending the school. Because of frequent power outages and water shut-offs classes would be routinely interrupted.
It makes more sense to use the already existing portables and transport half of the Sunnycrest student body to each school. This would help keep costs down because the already existing portables would not need to be moved, water and sewer lines would not need to be added to other sites and with the sloping terrain at Sunnycrest there was not room for all of the portables needed to house the students.
The district will be conducting a boundary adjustment process to balance the elementary student population, which should be complete before the 2008-2009 school year.
Currently the kindergarten- 5th grade population at Sunnycrest is close to 800 students with Hillcrest at just under 600 and Mt. Pilchuck close to 400. After the boundary changes Sunnycrest should have closer to 600 students, approximately 300 of which will be transported to Hillcrest and 300 to Mt. Pilchuck.
“Sunnycrest, Hillcrest and Mt. Pilchuck principals are working collaboratively to plan for the successful and positive transition of approximately 300 Sunnycrest students to transition to the portable locations,” Superintendent David Burgess said.
The main concern of parents at Hillcrest and Mt. Pilchuck is the parking and recess crowding.
“Most parents are accepting but have general concerns about the playground and parking capacity,” Sue Wixon-Phillips, Mt. Pilchuck’s PTA President said.
The district is working with all three principals and staff to make the adjustment as easy as possible for students.
“There are many logistical details that are currently being planned to enable the transition of Sunnycrest students and families to Hillcrest and Mt. Pilchuck portable campus’ during Sunnycrest’s modernization project,” Arlene Hulten, district spokesperson said. “Principals at these three schools have already begun the planning process and are looking for ways to collaborate and work together there is an enthusiasm on their part around the opportunities this unique year will provide for both students and teachers.”
Both Trudi Spierling, Principal at Mt. Pilchuck and Tim Haines, Principal at Sunnycrest see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity for their students.
“We are just gearing up for some exciting changes and exploring all of our options,” Haines said. “The focus will continue to be on great teaching and great learning.”
Spierling is excited to “pass the fire” from Camp Pilchuck to incoming Sunnycrest students.
“There has already been talk here about how we can share our “camp” tradition with the Sunnycrest students who will be sharing our campus by having a joint kick-off in the fall where we can pass on our campfire with them,” Spierling said. “We are looking forward to sharing the good things about Camp Pilchuck for their year here.”
What it all comes down to is that the kids from all three of these elementary schools will be able to meet new friends while creating new experiences and when the 2007-2008 school year is over, Mt. Pilchuck and Hillcrest students will be returning to almost brand new schools and after the 2008-2009 school year the kids of Sunnycrest will also be able to go home to a fully modernized school.
“Children are amazingly resilient and we need to keep focused on the positive outcomes of this transition time, both for the 2008-2009 school year and the following year when Sunnycrest will re-open its doors to students with a beautifully modernized building,” Hulten said.