A project to reduce class sizes by expanding Puyallup’s Shaw Road Elementary School kicked off at a groundbreaking ceremony at 8 a.m. Sept. 1.
At 16,000 square feet, the addition will feature 12 new classrooms, six project rooms and will connect to the pre-existing school building with entrances at the west end of both wings.
The construction crew had been laying the groundwork for the addition since Aug. 1, but the ceremony gathered staff, Puyallup School District board members and students to witness the construction firsthand.
“It always feels so wonderful to come here,” Puyallup School District Superintendent Tim Yeomans said at the start of the ceremony. “Our commitment to our children is so high.”
Shaw Road Elementary teaches kindergarten through sixth grade, but the $8.9 million project aims to meet state objectives to reduce class sizes for kindergarten through third grade.
I’m excited to have a bigger space for our kids and more technology for our use. Having accessible, adequate classrooms for those folks will be a gift.
Michelle Cruckshank, principal of Shaw Road Elementary
Washington state’s objective is 17 students for every single teacher. Currently, Shaw Road Elementary has 20 to 24 students for every teacher. The school has enough students that some classes must be taught in “out-of-closet” storage spaces.
In the new addition, classrooms will be equipped with adjoining doors and teachers will be able to collaborate with one another easily.
“I’m excited to have a bigger space for our kids and more technology for our use,” said Michelle Cruckshank, principal of Shaw Road Elementary. “Having accessible, adequate classrooms for those folks will be a gift.”
The addition was required by the state to be energy efficient and was designed with environmentally friendly features by using sustainable materials.
“It’s a whole checklist of items,” said Mike Meadows, construction director and project manager for the addition. “(The addition) conforms to the best practices for energy conservation.”
Six portables were moved from the back of the school to make room for the addition. The portables will still be used throughout the school year, but will be moved to other Puyallup schools when the project is completed in September 2017.
6 project rooms
Passed at a school board meeting on Feb. 22, 2016, the “class size reduction project” was not intended to address the growing number of new students in the Puyallup School District, but it does lay the groundwork for future district projects.
“We’re hoping to apply for grants and do similar projects in other schools,” chief operations officer Mario Casello said.
Separate from the Shaw Road Elementary renovations, the district will be starting a bond project to build five more elementary schools to accommodate new students. Smaller improvements have already been made.
“Shaw Road has a brand new roof,” Yeomans said. “It’s just one of the many upgrades that will happen throughout the year.”
Construction will occur all day throughout the school year, but officials assure that the students won’t be bothered and that when the project is complete, students will benefit from the new space and more one-on-one time with teachers.
“It’ll have a positive impact on the Shaw Road community and the Puyallup community as well,” Casello said. “It’ll benefit our entire district.”
As the construction continues, so will a time-lapse video, which will capture the entire building process. The video can be watched live at the Puyallup School District’s website.