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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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District Moving Ahead With Plans For New Nine Mile Middle School

The Nine Mile Falls School District is wasting no time in building a new middle school.

Funding for the school was approved last week, when voters endorsed a $7 million bond issue.

Superintendent Don Baumberger wants to have the 60,000-square-foot building open in September 1998. He’s already scheduled meetings with Architects West and plans to take construction bids this spring.

“That’s an aggressive time schedule, but we are still impacted on the high school,” said Baumberger.

Middle school students now are housed at Lakeside High School, where 800 students are shoehorned into a school built for 500. More students are expected to enroll, products of a building boom in Suncrest.

The new school will likely cost about $90 per square foot, depending on the market when bids are accepted, said Baumberger. Mead’s new high school, Mount Spokane, cost about $100 per square foot.

The state is expected to chip in at least $500,000, but Baumberger says the district does not know precisely how much.

Property taxes will rise about $1.50 per $1,000 per assessed value, or $150 for a $100,000 home. But with rapidly rising property values in the district, the cost will likely decline by the time the district pays it off in 15 years.

The bond issue, approved by a 68 percent margin according to unofficial returns, drew a surprising number of voters. The district needed 40 percent of the voters who cast ballots in the November presidential election, which had a large turnout, to show up again.

They did. About 1,450 voted, 300 more than needed to validate.

The bond will pay to outfit the school outside and in, including everything from sports uniforms to library books to chalk.

Baumberger said the middle school will continue educating grades 6-8, the high school grades 9-12. The middle school will hold about 600 students, Baumberger said.

When it opens, about 520 students will be left at the Lakeside High building, which is designed to hold about 500.

A name has not been chosen for the new school. Baumberger anticipates the name will be chosen by parents, students and staff.

Architects West, chosen to design the new school, is an award-winning school design firm that drew plans for Coeur d’Alene’s Lake City High, among others.

In the next six months, Baumberger - with input from staff and parents - will formalize design plans. Before the election, Baumberger met with parents and community residents to hear what they wanted in a school.

The emphasis on parent and community involvement shows Baumberger’s experience. He’s been a superintendent 28 years and has managed the construction or remodel of 24 schools.

“The vote indicates the community is happy with what we do,” said Baumberger.

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