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Shaw Road Elementary class size reduction project
Shaw Road Elementary class size reduction project

The district will begin construction on twelve additional classrooms at Shaw Road Elementary this summer.

The school board approved the local funding allocation for the project at the February 22 meeting. The approval allows the Capital Projects department to move ahead with the project while continuing to request state funds to alleviate some of the cost.

The $8.9 million project, transferred from General Funds to Capital Projects, represents another step in the progress to achieve state objectives for full-day kindergarten and average class size of 17 to 1 for kindergarten through third grades.

The district applied for a Class Size Reduction Grant on December 1, 2015 which would provide funding assistance for the project. The $200 million grant funding is expected to be awarded to districts across the state by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) no earlier than March 1.

The 2015 State Legislature passed SSB 6080 offering the competitive grant program to provide funding assistance to add classrooms to help achieve the Washington state class size objectives identified in RCW 28A.150.260 and RCW 28A.150.315.

The grant application submitted by the district asked for matching funds for a total of 40 classroom additions, twelve of those at Shaw Road.

If the grant is not awarded to Puyallup, then other state matching funds, under the school construction assistance program, will be pursued for the project.

The classroom additions are not intended to address current growth and overcrowding throughout the district. Rather, the additions meet state objectives for reduced class sizes limited to 17 students per classroom in grades K-3.

The state of Washington is moving toward offering full-day kindergarten at every school statewide by 2018. Puyallup, the eighth largest district in the state, implemented full-day kindergarten in the fall of 2014. 

The Shaw Road classroom addition is set to begin in June 2016 and be completed for the 2017-18 school year. Plans are currently underway to accommodate student recess and playground needs while construction is underway. Classrooms will not be disrupted during construction.

The architect selected to design the additional classroom space is BCRA from Tacoma. In the qualifications statement submitted by BCRA they stated “over the past decade, BCRA has appreciated the opportunities we have had to work with Puyallup School District on projects and through committee participation. This involvement has given us insight into the current condition of the facilities, how the Puyallup School District is dealing with the challenges of growth, and the shift in student population within school boundaries.”

“It is heartening to see the state legislature has acknowledged the need for additional classrooms to support class size reduction. The class size reduction grant was championed by former school board member and current Senator Bruce Dammeier during last year’s legislative session,” said Chief Operations Officer Rudy Fyles.