Moses Lake School District officials answer questions about new high school

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | October 16, 2020 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Site preparation should begin in about a month for a new high school in Moses Lake.

District superintendent Josh Meek said district officials are advertising for bids to clear and grade the site. The new building has the temporary name of the Real World Academy, but its permanent name will be announced soon, Meek said.

Meek and architect Kris Jeske showed a preliminary site plan and answered questions from people living near the site in an online meeting Tuesday.

The building will be located off Yonezawa Boulevard, west of the district’s transportation center. Site preparation is the only work scheduled in 2020. The project should be advertised for bids in February, with the contract awarded in March, Jeske said.

Construction is scheduled to start in April. The building is scheduled to open for classes in fall 2022.

Access will be from Yonezawa Boulevard, Jeske said. The site is located next to a residential neighborhood, and some residents asked questions about the design for traffic.

The plan includes completion of two streets that are currently dead ends, East Tanglewood Drive and East Jones Avenue. Both streets will connect to the school property, and residents expressed concern about increased traffic on those streets.

Jeske said the streets will provide access to emergency vehicles only, and will be blocked with a locked gate. Meek said one of the goals of the design was to use school property to reduce the impact of traffic on city streets.

District officials want to avoid the kind of traffic that Moses Lake High School has on East Sharon Avenue, Meek said.

The Real World Academy will have two parking lots with two separate entrances, one on each side of the Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center. The access road will run the length of the district’s property, ending in a parking lot next to the existing MLHS pumpkin patch. Jeske said a new fence will be installed along the length of the school property.

Jeske said architects wanted to give the new school its own identity, distinct from MLHS or the skills center. The building will be two stories and house about 900 students.

The building is designed to promote collaboration between classes and students, Meek said. Classrooms are laid out in what Meek called pods, seven classrooms grouped around a central commons area. Each pod will accommodate about 150 students.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.