Puyallup schools are bursting at the seams.
"We need bigger schools," said Mario Casello, Chief Operations Officer at Puyallup School District.
And they're about to get one of the biggest in the state. The yet-to-be-named school will take over what is now a 17-acre wooded parcel on Puyallup's South Hill. The school will be home to roughly 1,000 kids, kindergarten through 6th grade. It's part of a $292 million bond passed two years ago to try to keep up with record growth in Pierce County.
"It had been 12 years since we had passed a bond," said Casello. "With the growth that is hitting Puyallup now, it couldn't have been more important."
"It's definitely getting busier, and the schools are just having a hard time keeping up," said Alex Paul.
His son is headed into sixth grade, but will still be caught up in some of the district reshufflings to take some of the load off the current elementary schools.
"They're moving the 6th graders out to middle school. Trying to make room."
Grades 6-8 instead of the typical junior high will join grades 7-9. It'll shift back once the new school is built. Northwood on Puyallup's North Hill was built back in 1973 with capacity for about 550 students. Northwood, along with Firgrove and Sunrise Elementary will be replaced with bigger schools that will handle 750 kids each. Between the rebuilds, renovation, and new school, Puyallup should be set to handle the 1,050 elementary kids it expects to add in the next four to five years, with room to spare. It will be a few more years until they go back to voters to find money to expand the junior highs and high schools that will eventually be feeling the trickle-up effect.
Work on some of the schools is set to begin in the spring, with most of them completed by September of 2019.