As the school year draws to a close at Enatai, preparations for demolition and construction of the new school building are ramping up.

Once classes conclude in June, district staff will be busy moving everything out of the building and turning the site over to the contractor at the beginning of July.

“We have been working with our architects since last school year to take the best elements of our school and other rebuilt schools and design an amazing learning environment for our students, staff, and community,” Enatai Principal Joseph Kempisty said.

The new building will be approximately 82,000 square feet – 30,000 square feet larger than the existing school – and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.

When completed, the school will be state-of-the-art, utilizing LED lighting and geothermal energy among other energy efficient technologies.

The layout of the school, parking lot, and fields on the property will change and the new main entrance to the school will be off 25th Street.

“Where the field is now will be the parking lot,” Construction Project Manager Kyle McLeod explained.

“One of the many improvements at the new Enatai will be our traffic flow pattern for both drop-off and pick-up,” Kempisty explained. “We will have a dedicated entrance and exit for our buses, and our parent traffic loop will have a large increase in queuing space near the school with a substantially decreased impact on our neighboring streets during those two high traffic volume times.”

Additionally, the new Enatai will be two stories, make ample use of natural light, have dedicated ‘dirty spaces’ for art and science instead of a combined space, the community garden will be relocated to the west side of the building, and a synthetic turf field will be installed. The existing separate space for the school’s early learning programs will also be demolished and the new early learning center will be embedded in the school.

“It will be the first elementary we’ve done that will have the synthetic turf included as part of the new construction,” McLeod said.

One goal of the project is to preserve as many of the trees on site as possible.

“We’ve tried to be really sensitive in the whole development, holistically, in preserving as much of the mature vegetation on site as possible,” McLeod said.

Part of the planning process included looking for what from the original building could be preserved or repurposed in the new building. The art benches from the front of the school will be preserved, and some of the beams from the building will be made into additional benches for the new school.

“Enatai has a strong history of working with our community to improve student learning since it opened in 1953, and I am very excited to see this continued partnership and the positive impact we will have on each and every student in the decades ahead,” Kempisty said.

Demolition is expected to take five to six weeks according to McLeod.

“By the end of summer we should be starting to build a new building,” McLeod said.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.