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2/10/2017 | TACOMA, Washington
Early completion of the Stewart Middle School modernization
project means students get to end their cross-town commute to the old Hunt Middle
School – affectionately referred to as “Camp Hunt” – and move into their new digs six months early.
The historic Stewart, 5010 Pacific Ave., reopens to students
on Monday, March 13. Staff and students have been at the Hunt transition
site since September 2015.
While the newly modernized building is ready to occupy,
completion of the track and field will continue over the next few months. The
school will host a grand opening celebration later this spring.
“We’re excited to bring our Stewart family home and
reconnect with our community,” said Stewart Principal Zeek Edmond. “While our
staff and students have been amazing during our transition time at Camp Hunt,
we all will love getting home again. Believe me, I’ve had a sneak peek.”
While severe weather events and competition for construction
labor and supplies have caused delays for construction projects around the
region, Tacoma Public Schools reports that other factors worked in their favor.
“I’m thrilled to be able to announce this early opening for
the South and East Tacoma communities,” said Rob Sawatzky, Director of Tacoma
Public Schools Planning and Construction. "Historic remodels are
challenging and rewarding projects, but Skanska was able to work efficiently to
bring the project in early.” Modernizing an existing building also meant the
project wasn’t as impacted by the recent steel shortage or weather impacts on
Sawatzky also points out that the Stewart project used a
contracting model that brings on the contractor early in the process to work
alongside the architect during the design phase. This process, called General
Contractor/Contract Management (GC/CM), is different than the standard process
that has the architect complete the design before going out to bid for who will
manage construction. School districts use the GC/CM approach on projects that
require early involvement by the general contractor in order to be successful,
such as with historic remodels like Stewart.
“We have to thank Tacoma voters for their support of schools
like Stewart,” said Sawatzky. “Back in 2012 when the district was evaluating
schools to include in the ballot issue, Stewart—essentially the same building
as originally built in 1924—was a poster child for a school so deteriorated
that it interfered with student learning. Today, Stewart supports achievement.”
About the project
Stewart is one of 14 schools being remodeled or replaced
thanks to a $500 million bond voters approved in 2013. The historic
modernization includes preservation of historic features, demolition of a 1970s
addition to make room for a gymnasium and student courtyard, window
replacements, seismic upgrades, conversion of the large central auditorium into
a multi-use spaces, and the construction of two flexible spaces that teachers
can adapt for specific needs. The Stewart community garden will also return.
Square footage: 125,000
Student capacity: 750
Budget projection: $66 million
Architect: Bassetti Architects
Contractor: Skanska USA
Tacoma Public Schools is the only district designated an Innovation Zone by Washington State. A leader in implementing innovative schools and programs to meet the diverse needs of every student, every day, TPS serves approximately 30,000 students from preschool to grade 12 and at nearly 5000 employees is one of the largest employers in Tacoma. Learn more...
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