Kelso design advisory committee

The Kelso School District Design Advisory Committee has met with architects over the last four months to create schematic designs for Wallace and Lexington elementary schools. 

The Kelso School District unveiled the initial drawings for two of the three schools it is building with a $96.6 million capital bond voters approved in February. Construction of the new Wallace and Lexington elementary schools is scheduled to be completed by fall 2020.

The district is inviting community members to preview and discuss its plans for the two elementary schools at an open house Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Kelso High School commons.

The district spent months researching and drafting the designs, said Scott Westlund, finance director.

The process started with the forming of the Educational Specifications Committee.

“The Ed Specs process helped us determine the number of classrooms we needed and where they should be located in relation to each other,” Westlund said.

The committee toured other elementary schools in Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon to gather ideas and review best practices.

Then a Design Advisory Committee was formed to refine those ideas. The committee worked with architects to create the design renderings.

“Right now we are presenting what our best plan is to date,” Westlund said. “This is our best thinking in terms of what the layout of the school would be and how we would put all the features together to make a site plan for a school.”

The designs consider comments by district staff and parents and Kelso residents, Westlund said.

At the open house, community members can also hear about the district’s plans to improve safety and security across all Kelso schools. These projects will vary depending on each school’s need, but they may include installing video surveillance systems, entry and access controls, communication systems and exterior lighting, as well as the renovation of main entryways.

The district plans to record the comments it receives during the open house, so it can use the community’s comments to refine its construction plans. After the event, the district will complete the design and apply for building permits.

The district plans to start construction on the new schools early next summer, Westlund said.

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