The Issaquah School District struggles with growing pains

Emily Bassett, News Editor

Right now, the Issaquah School District has around 21,000 students spread out over 24 schools. With expected growths exceeding their current capacity, plans have been put in place to add at least four new schools, including a new middle and high school. Currently, the district has put a bid in on two properties, and has bought land for the others.
The middle and high schools, however, are the hardest to plan for, because of the size needed to build one. The property the district is looking at for the new high school is the church-owned property (also known as Providence Heights). The property has a rich history with both the Catholic and Lutheran churches, and the local historical society is fighting to save it. Because of this, the purchase of Providence Heights has been held up in the court system for over two years. Over the next two to six months, the decision should be made one way or another, according to Deputy Superintendent Josh Almy.
“Once we know what direction we’re going on the church-owned property, then we would be able to solidify the rest of the planning,” Director of High School Education Donna Hood said.
Work will begin on the first property—elementary school sixteen—in the summer of 2019. As for the other projects, they all rely on the purchase of the next most-needed project: middle school six. Since the school district just bought a new piece of land for their administrative offices, middle school six is projected to go in the space where the old offices were.
“Maywood is the biggest middle school in the district currently with about 1,150 students,” Almy said. For Liberty High School students, this means that the school will grow, and with it, grade sizes.
However, with the addition of both a new middle and high school nearer to Issaquah and Skyline, the question many are asking is how Liberty will be affected by it. Since the new school wouldn’t draw directly from Liberty’s boundaries and Maywood is still the largest middle school in the district, many in the community are concerned about the addition.
“We will absolutely be doing a reboundary,” Almy said. “I can’t imagine a scenario with the addition of a new high school that any of the current high schools would not be impacted by a boundary review at some level.”