From the ground up: Issaquah’s fourth high school

Haley Archer, Senior Writer

Issaquah School District’s new high school is more than just a myth. The path to approval has been riddled with setbacks—funding questions, budget adjustments, and an eminent domain battle have pushed the process back repeatedly—but Operation Education is now officially a go.
In the past decade, the population of the Issaquah area has skyrocketed, and this has become apparent in Issaquah’s schools. Overcrowding is an issue even in the district’s three newly renovated and expanded high schools. Skyline, Liberty, and Issaquah High all utilize a “rotating classroom” system that assigns multiple teachers to a single room as schools have been forced to take unconventional approaches to make space.
According to Donna Hood, Executive Director of High School Education for the Issaquah School District, “we have more than 5,600 high school students, and I think our existing comprehensive high schools will appreciate being a bit smaller than they currently are.”
For a while, though, it looked like the district’s “solution school” could be crowded out as well. Land prices are high in the Issaquah area, and finding space for new development proved difficult for school planners. However, after an exhaustive search for potential sites, the district settled on forty acres near Providence Point. The proposed site, located off 228th Avenue in Issaquah, includes space for the district’s seventeenth elementary school next door.
How much will this affect Liberty students? For now, it is unsure. Hood stated that a discussion will be happening regarding the changing the boundaries of existing high schools.
“At this point, we expect the boundary conversation will involve the community and other various stakeholders beginning sometime this spring,” Hood said. There is potential for movement of Liberty-area students as the district alters existing school lines to include the new high school.
As this is being determined, however, Hood looks forward to the development of Issaquah’s fourth high school.
“I think, having watched Gibson Ek develop and bloom over the past four years, that a brand new school has a unique opportunity to develop its own personality and character from scratch,” Hood said. “I am very excited for the opening of the new school.”