New Kennewick and Richland school construction updates - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New Kennewick and Richland school construction updates

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 KENNEWICK & RICHLAND, WA - Our community is growing and some school districts are making changes to help the rising population. Reporter Crystal Garcia looked in on some updates of construction in the area.

It's hard to not notice signs like "Site of New School" around town, like the one in the Clearwater Creek area. Of our three main districts in the Tri-Cities, two are adding new schools.

In Kennewick, three new schools are currently being worked on. The site of Elementary 16 is getting its foundation laid, and walls are expected to start going up in a month.

Work on Westgate Elementary is almost done after it was torn down a year and a half ago, and is set to be ready this summer.

The district is excited.

"Kids are going to get a brand new building," said Dave Bond, Kennewick School District Superintendent, "and they'll be able to go to school in a completely modern, 21st century building as opposed to the portables they are currently in."

In essence, they're going to add another 68 classrooms to the districts. By August of next year, all three projects will be ready...including the new dual-language school getting built where the Old Desert Hills Middle School was.

Looking forward, work on Amistad Elementary will start adding more classrooms.

In Richland, the school district is looking to relieve overcrowding at their schools by adding two new ones.

Jefferson Elementary off of G-Way just broke ground to get their students better facilities. 

Leona Libby Middle School over in West Richland will reduce the student population over at Enterprise Middle School that has over 1,100 students.

Leona Libby will also be a STEAM school, to help students hone in on all core subjects, including the arts.

"How do you integrate everything through interdisciplinary state projects?" asked Andre Hargunani, the principal of Leona Libby. "And we are going to continue to really do this as we are growing our staff."

Leona Libby is set to open up this fall, while Jefferson will open fall of next year. District officials are also looking to start designs for two additional schools.

All these additions were made possible by community votes for school bonds in Kennewick and Richland; Pasco is still hoping to get more community support for school upgrades.