Military News

Remodel of one more JBLM school gets momentum in Congress

Two U.S. lawmakers from Washington state are pushing bills that would pay for the remodeling of the last of six outdated elementary schools at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The Clover Park School District would get $40 million to renovate Evergreen Elementary School if either of the bills sponsored by Democrats Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Denny Heck make it through Congress.

Both bills have cleared hurdles in the House and Senate. The measures would set aside about $140 million for renovations at schools on military bases around the country.

Last week, Murray’s measure passed a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. In May, Heck’s measure passed the House. Their progress bodes well for the funds being included in the 2015 defense budget.

Clover Park has been enjoying a building boom for its campuses on JBLM since 2011, when former U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks crafted legislation that opened up Defense Department funds for schools on military bases.

The Lakewood-based school district has renovated Carter Lake and Hillside elementary schools. Improvements are underway this summer at Rainier and Merriweather elementary schools.

Beachwood elementary is next in line, and Evergreen would get its remodel if the funding for more school renovations makes it through the defense budget.

Most of the schools at JBLM were built in the 1950s and ’60s. Evergreen was built in 1991.