What work is needed at the High School?
Mercer Island High School was built in 1957 and remodeled in 1998, which makes it the newest of all the schools. The building is expected to last 30 more years and has sufficient capacity for the current and anticipated student population.
Science Labs Needed
An preliminary budget of $3M is included in the bond request package approved by the School Board to fund remodeling of one wing of classrooms at the high school. This would modernize that wing to
- accommodate modern teaching and learning styles
- provide additional classroom space to accommodate anticipated enrollment levels
- provide additional science lab capacity
As the district projects high school enrollment in the next five to seven years, the need for adding science classrooms is apparent, even without considering program enhancements such as adding STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses. Presently, Mercer Island High School as 8 science classrooms. The rooms are configured for various science courses (chemistry, physics, biology, environmental science), and all rooms are science subject specific. There are 11 science teachers who share the rooms to teach 57 sections. Three more sections are taught at Crest, in part because of lack of space on the main campus. This configuration presents several challenges to current course offerings and clearly challenges the district’s ability to expand the science menu of courses.
Current Scheduling is impacted by the numbers of rooms available during a given period (no more than eight sections of science in a given period), and the flexibility of the room assignments (the physics rooms to not have all the built-in equipment for chemistry, etc.). Optimal master scheduling might indicate that adding a ninth schience section during a given period would allow for more scheduling options for students; facility limitations make that impossible. Additionally, the best schedule might include a different mix of courses than the rooms allow—an example would be four chemistry classes during one period.
21st Century Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
As the district plans for expanded high school enrollment in the near term and for expansion of 21st Century Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) course offerings such as materials science and robotics, the superintendent recommends the renovation of a wing at MIHS to include 6-12 new classrooms which would also include some number of classrooms for general education use as well.
Lake Washington School District is building a new secondary school entirely dedicated to a STEM-focused curriculum. This school is expected to open in the Fall of 2012.