Construction of new Redmond High addition to begin this summer: Project to add more classrooms, new gym

Construction of a new addition at Redmond High School (RHS), with an estimated cost of $19 million, will begin this summer and be completed by fall of 2012, when ninth-graders are added to the mix at the district's most-populated high school.

Construction of a new addition at Redmond High School (RHS), with an estimated cost of $19 million, will begin this summer and be completed by fall of 2012, when ninth-graders are added to the mix at the district’s most-populated high school.

The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) held an open house Wednesday night at RHS, unveiling draft designs and the timeline for the much-needed addition project. Residents who attended Wednesday night’s open house were given a chance to ask questions about the project and provide comments.

The new addition, which includes building a new classroom wing and another auxiliary gym, along with other interior modifications, will help accommodate the influx of ninth-graders when the district changes to a K-5, 6-8, 9-12 grade configuration in the fall of 2012.

The grade configuration change may add up to approximately 500 ninth-graders to the campus, according to district projections.

“The area is growing and we need to accommodate more students,” said Marc Gleason, president of McGranahan Architects, the firm that designed the original campus and is now in charge of drawing the blueprints for the addition. “Anytime you do an addition, it gives you a little elbow room to make things better. … I have a lot of high hopes this addition will work just great.”

Gleason was the project manager for the design of the original RHS campus, which opened in 2003, so his firm “knows this school like the back of (their) hands.”

The district selected McGranahan Architects, just for that reason, so the new addition could be carefully integrated into the current campus, using the same materials, windows and design aspects, according to Forest Miller, LWSD support services director.

“We want it to blend it with the original building and not make it look like an addition,” Miller said.

Once Gleason and his firm complete the drawings for the new addition, the district will file for building permits with the city, go through the public process and bid the job to the lowest-bidding contractor. So far, everything is on schedule for construction to begin this summer, Gleason said.

The project, which will add approximately 30,000 more square foot to the RHS campus, will be funded through the $65.4 million Capital Projects Levy, which was approved by district voters last month.



As for the RHS addition, the major piece will be a 22,000 square-foot classroom wing, which will be built off the south end of the campus, connecting to the theatre and art wing of the school. The new wing will feature 10 general classrooms and two science classrooms.

The designs also call for the creation of a new “teaching, learning courtyard,” in between the new wing and the arts wing, Gleason said. Specific plant material will be installed as a learning laboratory for students, studying botany and horticulture, Gleason said.

“Rather than a sort of passive space, it makes it into a teaching opportunity,” he said of the courtyard.

A new, nearly 8,000-square-foot, one-story auxiliary gym, located west of the Commons, will feature regulation basketball and volleyball courts along with spectator seating for up 150 people. The space can also be used for community meetings and events, Gleason said.

“It’s a gesture back to the community, so they can use that space too,” Gleason said, adding that the current locker rooms and smaller current auxiliary gym will stay the same.



The project also calls for modifications to the interior of the existing Commons to increase student seating capacity for the three different lunch periods throughout the school day. In addition, there will be some more interior upgrades for administrative student support offices, such as the counseling area.

The existing parking lot will remain the same after a traffic study showed that there was no need to add more parking spaces since the new ninth-graders coming in will not be of driving age, Gleason said. There will be 2 to 3 more buses each day, but the campus has the space to accommodate that, Gleason said.

Ten new parking stalls at the back north end of the school will be installed for added faculty and staff, along with the addition of 33 more bicycle racks spread throughout the campus, Gleason said. Landscaping enhancements include an additional row of trees connecting Northeast 104th Street and RHS.



If the enrollment numbers grow beyond the district’s expectations and the new addition is still not enough space, designers and district officials have identified the north end of the playfields adjacent to the parking lot as the location for up to eight portables — if needed.

“So depending on actual enrollment we might not need any portable classrooms at all or we could need some number of them,” according to Kathryn Reith, LWSD communications director. “We will have a better idea next spring.”

One thing is certain: many more students — along with more space — will be coming to RHS in 2012.