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Spokane Public Schools breaks ground on new middle school

Spokane Public Schools will break ground for the new Carla Peperzak Middle School on Tuesday, March 15, and the redesign of the Sacajawea Middle School on March 22.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools (SPS) is ready to break ground on two new middle school buildings.

The first groundbreaking ceremony will be held for the new Carla Peperzak Middle School located at 2616 E. 63rd Ave. The ceremony happened on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

SPS decided on the names of Pepperzak and two other middle schools in 2021 with input from the public.

The name behind Carla Peperzak Middle School comes from a Dutch Resistance operative and Holocaust freedom fighter throughout World War II, Carla Peperzak, who moved to Spokane in 2004. 

Peperzak also shared her story with students across the region and was honored in a 2015 state Senate resolution and named Washington State's Person of the year in 2020.

Carla Peperzak Middle School: Building base work has been completed at both sites, allowing contractors to begin...

Posted by Spokane Public Schools on Monday, March 14, 2022

The site has faced some opposition from people who used the space as an unofficial South Hill dog park. The city hopes to build an official dog park in a different space.

SPS Chief Operations Officer Shawn Jordan said the district wanted to lower class sizes for younger students.

"we had an interest to reduce class size, primarily at the elementary level, so we were going to need more elementary size elementary classrooms. In that process, we were also growing at that particular time. So in order to move the sixth grade to middle school, we were going to need more middle school space," Jordan said.

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The second SPS groundbreaking ceremony will be held for the renovated Sacajawea Middle School on Tuesday, March 22.

The redesign for the Sacajawea Middle School is one of many projects that Spokane voters approved after passing the 2018 Bond.

The new Carla Peperzak Middle School at Mullan is one of three new middle schools buildings by the SPS as part of their $495.3 million district-wide plan. The redesign of the Sacajawea Middle School is also part of the SPS plan aimed to replace three existing middle schools. 

Spokane voters approved both projects after the passing of the 2018 bond.

"I think that overall there's an excitement. The community voters passed our bond to add these three middle schools. I think the the interest to reduce class size is one that most everybody is in favor of," Jordan said.

With the schools opening in the next two years, new classes of students will be walking through the doors for the first time. This comes as SPS recently finalized redistricting plans for the schools, which will have an effect on the first classes to attend the new middle schools.

"Some of the boundaries for the middle schools have changed, so that the students are now going to one of the new schools. We also have a process where students can request a choice transfer into schools," Jordan said.

Jordan also said those transfer requests will depend on available space.

WATCH MORE: Spokane Public Schools chooses names for 3 new middle schools: Here are the new names and meanings


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