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District News

Information about Seattle Public Schools' construction costs

Feb. 8, 2013 | Audience: Families, Community, Staff | Contact:Communications | (206) 252-0200

Seattle Public Schools is building schools based on what is best for our students, families and community.

We build schools to house before/after child-care space, ample libraries for our kids to access resources, computer labs to help build 21st Century skills, flexible space to meet growth needs, and adequate space for programs, such as bilingual and special education.

We anticipate 7,000 additional students over the next 10 years and the BEX IV levy will help us ensure that each student has a safe and secure place to learn.

Seattle has unique needs, which can cost more than other smaller school districts:

    • Our buildings are older than suburban/rural districts.

    • We have an emphasis on technology in our schools.

    • Most BEX IV school projects involve demolition of existing buildings to prepare the site for construction, and interim housing for the school community for at least one year while the new facility is being built. Those are costs often not borne by other districts.

    • We have higher site-development costs because we are an urban district and need to meet required local codes.

    • Our projects include annual escalation compounded for future construction.

    • Our soft costs include furniture, fixtures, technology equipment and curriculum materials that may be itemized and borne for separately in other school districts.

We build schools to meet the needs of our students. The size of our schools is based on:


    • Input from instructional and administrative staff.

    • Curriculum needs.

    • Contractual requirements for teacher Planning Conference and Preparation space (PCP), which are different for each school district. Therefore, capacity is calculated differently from district to district.

    • Elementary schools that provide child-care space - which creates significantly larger school buildings.

    • Joint use agreements with the city in regards to common spaces. This can dictate how much space we need for gyms and daycares.


Seattle Public Schools used due diligence and checks and balances in developing the BEX IV levy.


    • The District hired experts to determine size and costs.

    • The needs of each of the schools have been considered. Seattle Public Schools has accurately accounted for the unique site challenges and costs.


For more information on BEX IV, please visit: http://bit.ly/SPSBEX

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