Mercer Island School District celebrates groundbreaking for new elementary school

ForhmayerPlanoBasset MERCER ISLAND, Wash. – March 17, 2015 – On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, the Mercer Island School District (MISD) celebrated the groundbreaking of Elementary No. 4 at its future site on the North Mercer campus. Mercer Island School Board members were joined by members of the Mercer Island City Council, including Mayor Bruce Bassett, and a group of young students who will attend the new elementary school in the fall of 2016.

“Ultimately we are building not just a school; we are building a wonderful community resource that we all can enjoy and appreciate,” said Mercer Island School Board President Janet Frohnmayer.

“This is a spectacular moment for our community,” said Mayor Bassett. “My hat is off to the school board and all of the folks who worked on this.”

Future students of the new school, dressed in orange “Work Zone” safety vests and bright yellow helmets, were the first to get their ceremonial shovels into the ground. “We are going to ask these students to cast the first shovels of dirt as a symbol that they are building their new school,” said MISD Superintendent Dr. Gary Plano.

“On your mark, ready, go. Shovel dirt!”


The students started digging and it was clear they did not want to stop. Once the students finished their initial foray into construction, members of the School Board, the City Council, and the leaders of the successful bond proposition hoisted dirt with their own ceremonial, golden shovels.

“I think this is great. We modeled the school bond campaign after a community barn raising,” said Ralph Jorgenson, co-chair of the 2014 School Bond and Levy Campaign. “Today’s groundbreaking feels like such a barn raising. The construction of this new, fourth elementary school was broadly supported by our community, will serve to address our current elementary school overcrowding, and will serve generations of future Mercer Island elementary students."

GymFloorElem4 Attendees signed a board from the old North Mercer Junior High School gym that will be displayed at the new school. Most of the wood from the gym floor will be repurposed in the new elementary school. The new school, located at SE 40th Street and 88th Avenue SE, is scheduled to be operational for the 2016-17 school year.

Dr. Plano thanked current board members and community leaders for their support in the educational specifications process, their work on the bond proposition, and their continued support of Mercer Island public schools. He recognized community leaders who were critical to the success of Mercer Island public schools for years, noting that the work happening now materializes on the heels of their time, talent, and energy.

Board President Frohnmayer added, “On behalf of the board, we want to thank Gary from the bottom of our hearts. We have been on a very long journey culminating in building this amazing school. We could never have made this journey without Gary’s leadership. What an amazing legacy this is.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Islander Middle School Expansion project, which was also part of the 2014 bond proposition, will be held on March 27 at 2:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
To see more photos, visit the Mercer Island School District on Facebook.
Phone: 206-230-6227