A site has been selected and approved for a new Kent School District (KSD) elementary school in the Kent valley.

This new school was approved by voters in Nov. 2016 by the passing of a $252,000,000 bond measure, and will open in the fall of 2021.

The new school will be built on existing KSD property currently occupied by Kent Mountain View Academy (KMVA). A small, choice school, KMVA is the first of its kind in the Kent School District, serving students in grades 3 – 12, and is one of many distinct KSD programs designed to meet the needs of our students and their families.

The KSD Facilities and Construction team exhausted all means of securing a site for the new Kent Valley elementary school, no other property suitable for the needs of the school was available. Construction will begin in the fall of 2019 and the new school will open to KSD students in August 2021.

This means that KMVA will be getting a new home. For the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, KMVA students will be sharing space with Kent Phoenix Academy (KPA) at their current location on Kent east hill. Like Kent Mountain View, KPA offers three unique programs to high school students who feel they want a learning environment different from a traditional high school.

KPA and KMVA will be sharing a building that once was home to Sequoia Middle School and has a capacity of over 700 students. Enrollment in 2018-19 for both schools is expected to be approximately 550 students, so district and school leaders are confident sharing this space is feasible.

“Certainly, there may be some challenges to sharing a space, but there will be many benefits, too, and I’m already excited about the innovative ways we can support students together,” said Stephanie Knipp, KMVA principal.

One benefit that both KPA and KMVA communities can look forward to is a new academy campus located at the old Panther Lake site on the corner of 208th and Benson. This academy campus will be the new location for both KPA and KMVA. The old Panther Lake has been on the market for a few years without a buyer, so building a new academy campus on this site is a responsible, fiscally sound plan. KPA and KMVA will have new buildings built for their students’ specific needs, and offer more opportunities to serve their students’ educational goals. The budget for “twenty classrooms to reduce overcrowding” from the 2016 Bond will be used to fund this project with construction beginning in 2019 and school starting there in 2021.

“Knowing there is a planned space for academies is thrilling, now the exciting part begins: planning a learning facility that will reflect all students’ needs,” said Merilee Lyle, KPA principal.

Scott Schaefer

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