Blaine school district is taking steps toward acquiring a property in Birch Bay for a future school.
The Blaine school board passed a recommendation at its February 27 regular meeting for Blaine school district finance director Amber Porter to hire seven professional consultants to advise the district on the purchase of a school site in Birch Bay, according to the meeting agenda.
In October 2014, the school board passed a resolution for property acquisition, 14/15-04, that recognized the growing Birch Bay population would be well served with an elementary school and set a goal to acquire a site when the district had the funding in place to do so.
Porter previously said in an October 25, 2021 board meeting that funds could become available by November 2021 and the district was starting the process of looking for a site.
The school board directed Porter to hire the services of Zervas Architects, an architectural design firm in Bellingham that has designed Bellingham International Airport, Lynden City Hall, Vital Climbing Gym and Jansen Art Center. Zervas designed Blaine High School as well as other new school buildings and renovations in the area, including Nooksack High School, Shuksan Middle School and Western Washington University’s Multi-Purpose Field.
The district will also hire title company Chicago Title of Washington, attorney Perkins Coie LLP, environmental consultant Northwest Ecological Services LLC, environmental engineer Whatcom Environmental Services Inc, engineering consultant GeoTest Services Inc and appraiser James D. McCallum & Associates for the project.
Birch Bay is a growing community that gained 1,700 new residents in the last decade, reaching a population of 10,115, almost doubling the Blaine population of 5,884, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.
There was little discussion of possible properties the district was considering, and there has been little discussion between the board and administration about the issue since the October 2021 meeting.
Porter said in the October 2021 meeting the district would ideally purchase a site that is 10 acres or larger and in close proximity to the large population areas in Birch Bay. She said this could be difficult because the site has to be within the Blaine school district area, which is tight along the bay. The border with the Ferndale district lies halfway between Blaine and Kickerville roads.
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