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Ground broken on SPS remodeled middle school

The middle school's new updates will address the current overcrowding in elementary schools and will be able to hold 825 students from grades six to eight.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools (SPS) is ready to break ground on the second redesigned middle school building in the Spokane South Hill area on Tuesday.

After SPS had the first groundbreaking ceremony for the new Carla Peperzak Middle School on the South Hill last Tuesday, a second groundbreaking was held Tuesday for the renovated Sacajawea Middle School (SMS).

The redesign for SMS is one of many projects that Spokane voters approved after passing the 2018 Bond. The $495.3 million bond includes replacing three current middle schools in the South Hill area and the building of three more.

The middle school's updates will address the current overcrowding in elementary schools.

"This will allow us to change the grade structures from seventh and eighth to sixth-seventh-eighth grade and give us more capacity to lower class sizes in our elementary schools," Greg Forsyth, director and capital projects of SPS, said.

Forsyth said lowering school class sizes allows for more relationships between teachers and students.

"Those relationships are important, and that brings out the safety and the comfort of learning which is very important," Forsyth said.

The project will expand the school's square footage to about 140,000 to accommodate the increase in students. The new school will be able to hold more than 800 students from grades six to eight. 

The renovated building will include classrooms, a gym, a common area, a cafeteria, a band choir room, other support spaces, and outdoor playfield areas.

The school's renovations are expected to be completed by August of 2023.

The SMS groundbreaking took place Tuesday morning at 9:30 at the SMS gym.

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