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Funding shortfall could delay new Jackson Park school

Central Kitsap School District has plans to build a new sustainably sourced, handicapped-accessible school at Jackson Park Elementary, but district officials aren’t yet sure if there will be enough money to have it open by 2014 as previously planned.

Central Kitsap School District Superintendent Greg Lynch said $15 million from the school district’s 2011 capital projects levy will go toward the total $20 million cost of the new building, at 2900 Austin Drive in Bremerton.

The district will have to postpone the scheduled August 2014 opening if it doesn’t get enough money from a federal grant, Lynch said.

The school is counting on federal impact aid money to help pay for the construction, but the district won’t know how much of that money it will get until January 2013.

“We were counting on a certain amount of money from Heavy Impact Aid, the board will have to make the decision by January 2013 whether to find another source of revenue or delay the opening,” Lynch said.

“If we find a revenue source, we’ll start breaking ground in spring or summer 2013,” he said.

Lynch said he’s staying optimistic.

“It’s our first new school of the 21st century,” he said. “I think we’ll be okay.”

The building is more than 35 years old and doesn’t meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, according Jackson Park Elementary Principal Tess McCartan.

McCartan said other concerns at the school include Jackson Park’s drinking water, which isn’t considered safe because tests showed the plumbing is leaky.

“And if stuff can leak out, it can leak in,” McCartan said.

Some of the teachers drink the water, but the school buys bottled water for children to drink to be on the safe side, she said.

McCartan said between 500 and 600 children attend Jackson Park on a yearly basis. Enrollment sometimes fluctuates as much as 50 students with the highly mobile military population, she said.

She said the new elementary school is expected to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified, and built on the lot behind the current building.

McCartan said the overall design is meant to be comforting, especially for students of military families who’ve just moved to the area.

“We want the design to say, ‘welcome home,’” McCartan said.

 

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