By Ian Ferguson
Blaine’s school district campus may have been devoid of students this summer, but construction crews kept the place busy working on a litany of long overdue maintenance and improvements projects.
A new playground at Blaine Primary School is open to the public. Northwest Playground Equipment, Inc. installed the playground, which includes slides, ladders, a carousel and a climbing wall.
Capital improvements project manager Jim Kenoyer said the public’s response to the new equipment has been positive.
“As soon as it was opened, kids were playing on it instead of going over to play on the old playground,” Kenoyer said. “That was a good sign.”
The old playground will eventually be removed to make way for an addition to the primary school.
A less visible but no less substantial upgrade was made to the parking lot at the west end of the elementary school. Instead of merely repaving and repainting the aging and problematic surface, crews dug down and replaced the base layers as well.
“Hopefully we now have a parking lot that will last for decades,” superintendent Ron Spanjer said.
The track oval was also overhauled. The rubberized surface and sub-layers were completely replaced, the curves were edged with concrete to extend the life of the track and the lines were repainted. All of the approaches to the track were redone as well.
The seats and risers of the grandstand at Blaine stadium were repainted to go along with the new track. The aging grandstand is slated for replacement in three years when construction of the new high school is underway.
Crews replaced and repaired roofing on portions of the middle school, and replaced worn carpeting in a handful of classrooms in the elementary school.
In Point Roberts, crews repaired the roof of the primary school and plans to upgrade the playground are moving ahead. Parents and staff, in conjunction with the Point Roberts Park and Recreation District, approved a playground design that will be installed this fall. Point Roberts Primary School sits on land the school district is leasing from the parks department for 99 years, but unlike the last playground, the school district will own and be responsible for the maintenance of the new playground.
Money for the capital improvements this summer was budgeted as part of the $45 million bond approved by voters last year. Construction of another project funded by the bond, the addition of eight classrooms to Blaine Primary School, could begin in late October. The project is slated to open to contract bidders in early September. Construction of the addition could be completed in April 2016, and a hallway connecting the addition to the rest of the building would be built over summer 2016 to minimize interruptions to students, Spanjer said.
“It’s exciting to be making progress on these projects that are long overdue,” Spanjer said.