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Housing Market Cause For New, Remodeled Schools

Rapid growth in north Spokane is spurring a spate of school construction.

The five largest school districts in north Spokane County are planning to build or remodel buildings to keep up with a booming housing market.

Most of the school districts will get state dollars to match local property tax money.

But the new buildings will cost taxpayers in the school districts, in the form of higher property taxes.

Nine Mile Falls plans to put a $6.5 million bond issue on the ballot in February to build a middle school building.

The current middle school is shoehorned into Lakeside High School, which is so overcrowded that students meet in teacher lunch rooms. The school district is negotiating for property two miles north of Lakeside, on Highway 291.

If approved, the bond issue could raise property taxes $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, according to a conservative estimate by superintendent Don Baumberger. But if Suncrest continues to grow as expected, the bond issue would cost less.

Deer Park School District began overhauling its junior high school last week after receiving a state construction grant worth $2.125 million.

New classrooms will be added and old wiring replaced to allow connection to the Internet. The school will remain open during construction, which is expected to be done by next spring.

The district is also remodeling Arcadia Elementary and updating wiring in Deer Park High School.

Riverside School District is proposing a pair of bond issues totaling $2.8 million to remodel elementary, middle and high schools. Included in the proposal is a new middle school gym and athletic fields, and new wiring for the elementary, middle and high school.

Combined, the bond issues would raise property taxes by 96 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The proposal will be on the September ballot.

Walls are up on Mount Spokane High School in the Mead School District. The project is on budget and on schedule for a September, 1997, opening.

Spokane School District is planning to build an fourth elementary school in the Indian Trail neighborhood. The district bought land last spring on Indian Trail Road, but hasn’t announced construction plans.

, DataTimes