Levy’s passage spells eventual end to East High School decay

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It may only be a matter of time before the deteriorating buildings of the old East High School get bulldozed. 

The Bremerton School District’s three-year, $8.3 million capital levy passed resoundingly in early February, with 61.5 percent of voters in support. The levy funds turf fields, improvements to the high school’s performing arts center and — last but not least to many readers of this blog — the destruction of much of the old campus off Wheaton Way.

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Leavell.

Ideas abound for the future of the campus, once a series of flat-roofed, California school-style structures is gone. Bremerton School District Supt. Aaron Leavell admits it’s hard to even think that far ahead.

“It still feels like a dream,” he said of the real possibilities.

One thing he’s sure of for the future: “We’re going to do something that benefits kids and this community,” he said.

But first things first: there’s still a lot that needs to happen to ensure destruction of 125,000 square feet of school carcass. The federal EPA is contributing $50,000 worth of technical assistance that will determine what needs to be done on the property.

While the district penciled in $1 million for the teardown, it’s unclear just how much it will actually cost. Plus, as Leavell notes, if higher priorities emerge — the superintendent mentioned the Crownhill Elementary School roof will need work in the years ahead — those may take precedence.

The money from the levy begins to roll in for the district on April 1, 2017. Even then, the district’s plan is to sandwich the East High School teardown between other upgrades, slotting it for sometime in 2018. Part of the motivation for waiting is because the EPA might have ideas for other funding sources.

Meanwhile, this summer, the old school’s storied gymnasium will get a new roof, thanks to $1 million from the State Legislature last year.

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The district also must figure out how to “shore up” the gym complex once the rest of the school is demolished. They’ll have to add new walls so the gym will be an entirely self-contained structure.

Leavell’s excited about the future prospects. He said the district had been approached about selling the property as is, but that school officials want to keep it for the community. It may be awhile, but there’s no doubt that the demolition of the old school has moved up the district’s priorities list.

One thought on “Levy’s passage spells eventual end to East High School decay

  1. It’s amazing to me that Mr. Leavell is the superintendent now. He taught some of my friends when we attended Bremerton Junior High together and now he’s on the decision team to tear it down. I remember the days when we couldn’t start the school day on time because the asbestos levels were being monitored in the library. Wow.

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