This summer was a time to regroup and reformat for the Sequim School District.
Its biggest project, a $300,000 remodel of the Sequim Community School’s north-side 1979 addition, faces setbacks which tentatively will push the opening back to after Christmas break, rather than the original early September finish time.
John McAndie, maintenance and operations supervisor for the district, said last-minute change orders between contractors and the City of Sequim led to design issues.
The remodel transforms two rooms formerly housing Snap, now called Mosaic, and the districtmaintenance storage area into six open-space classrooms for Olympic Peninsula Academy, which started school Sept. 11. Two more classrooms were created in the commons area, which still houses the district’s base kitchen that provides food for OPA, Greywolf Elementary and Helen Haller Elementary.
Brian Lewis, business manager for the district, said none of OPA’s equipment or furnishings were moved from their original classrooms in the portion of the Community School slated to close, just in case the remodel wasn’t finished.
“It was an ambitious schedule and it’s unfortunate we didn’t meet that,” he said. “Thankfully, we had a backup plan.”
The school faced cooling and heating issues due to its age, and since the addition once housed the home economics and wood shop classes, it should have enough power for heat pumps, McAndie said.
Following the completed remodel, water and heat will be shut off in the rest of the building and rooms with no roof leaks will become storage.
McAndie said the new finish date of Dec. 15 allows staff to move OPA into the new space during the break. Cost hasn’t increased with the changes but McAndie said that could change going into colder months.
“We’re still running the boiler and want to get the project completed before the depths of the heating season,” he said. “If we can get out of there by Thanksgiving, all the better.”
Finding the room
The school closure displaced the district’s developmental preschool to Helen Haller and the Sequim Alternative High School to two classrooms above the high school auditorium. Special Services staff are now in the administration building. Other non-district supported programs such as Head Start; Women, Infants and Children; First Teacher; and Peninsula College’s GED and English Language Learners programs are no longer housed in school district facilities.
Lewis said every classroom in the district is being used.
“The space we had, OPA and the Alternative High School absorbed it,” he said. “Up until we closed the Community School (in June), we had a renter on site every day of the year.”
With the condensed space and the community using school space at high levels, Lewis said it’s becoming more difficult for maintenance staff to do regular upkeep such as waxing gymnasium floors.