Approval pending on new Pullman elementary school

DANNY LOCHRIDGE | Evergreen reporter

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Kamiak Elementary School, to be constructed on Military Hill along NW Terre View Drive, will be the district’s fourth elementary school, according to the school district’s website.

The school will be built to accommodate up to 500 students, but is only expected to bring in 350-400 students, according to a traffic impact analysis. Fifty people will staff the school, according to the State Environmental Policy Act checklist.

Pullman Fire Chief Mike Heston voiced his concerns with only having NW Terre View Drive as the one-access road for the fire department. Heston proposed that the street be connected to Greyhound Lane to allow for an alternative route to the school in case of emergencies, according to an email Heston sent.

“The first step in the construction of the school is to start the grading, to get the site ready for construction,” Pullman City Planning Director Pete Dickinson said.

He said the grading process can start once the plan is submitted, even before the city approves the plans to build the school, but grading probably won’t start until the ground dries up.

“Grading in the winter is nearly impossible,” Dickinson said.

The developers will also have to get a permit to build the school, and City Council will have to approve it, he said.

“At this point,” Dickinson said, “it will be about five months before everything is approved.”

State law also requires the staff-to-student ratio remain at 1:15, with a maximum group size of 30, according to Section 270 under Title 170 in the Washington Administrative Codes.

“School involvement has been growing,” said Shannon Focht, Pullman School District communications coordinator.

The goal of building this school is to alleviate the pressure of the current elementary schools, where enrollment is still growing, Focht said.

“The building will have 24 classrooms,” she said, “which will accommodate quite a few teachers.”

The school will be named in honor of Chief Kamiak of the Yakima tribe from the 1800s, according to a report by the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in September, 2016.