School construction to finish by March

Several students to switch schools in redistricting process



Construction equipment, including a mobile office, forklift and miscellaneous supplies, sit outside the Kamiak Elementary building Tuesday.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

A new elementary school under construction on Northwest Terre View Drive will be ready to serve roughly 390 students starting this August.

Construction for Kamiak Elementary is scheduled to be finished in March and will help alleviate overcrowding at the three other elementary schools as Pullman continues to grow, said Joe Thornton, director of operations for Pullman Public Schools.

“We needed additional classrooms,” he said. “It’s great that we were able to add this building.”

The new school is approximately 70,000 square feet and has 28 classrooms, Thornton said. As Pullman’s population grows, the school district has been working to make accommodations.

There will also be two separate playgrounds for upper and lower grades respectively, said Shannon Focht, communications coordinator for Pullman Public Schools.

Kamiak Elementary was funded by the combination of a $7 million construction grant from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and a $23.5 million bond, she said. Total costs for the building are estimated at roughly $26.5 million.

Because of the new school, many students will end up transferring either to Kamiak or another elementary school next year, said Kamiak Principal Evan Hecker. Most of the teachers at Kamiak will also be transferred from an existing Pullman school.

“There’s been a re-arrangement of boundaries,” Thornton said. “For a small subset of parents it’s been stressful.”

To help families with transitioning, the school will host several open houses and has provided an app linked on the school district’s website to show where families will send their children to based on their location.

“It’s one new building, and four new school communities,” Hecker said.

So far the work has gone smoothly, Hecker said, but he’s prepared for some challenges with the start of school this summer. Details like bus routes, drop-off and pickup spots are not all established like they are for older schools.

“Policies and procedures are gonna be different,” he said. “You have to plan and prepare for everything.”

One of his biggest priorities will be to provide a fun and engaging learning environment, Hecker said.

“We want students so eager to come to school they want to knock down the doors to get in and at 3 o’clock they don’t want to leave,” he said.

Hecker, who previously served as assistant principal at Moscow Middle School, said he has enjoyed getting to know students, parents and staff.

“It’s a lot of fun to come to work every day,” he said. “Pullman is certainly a community that prioritizes education.”