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Construction of the new elementary schools for the Ellensburg School District are on schedule. Program manager Damon Gardella said the new Mount Stuart should be completed before school starts next year, and the still-unnamed elementary school being built just north should be finished a few months after.

According to Gardella, people will soon be able to see the project transformed as the structural steel has been started and soon and the skeleton of the building will be visible. At the new elementary school, the concrete footing and foundation walls are being installed.

ESD Executive Director of Business Services Brian Aiken said the school board will be considering names for the new elementary school sometime in the next few weeks.

“We are looking at a way to get the community and our students involved in that process and so I think we are going to get going on that as soon as we get school underway,” Aiken said.

While working on the new schools, the city of Ellensburg asked if the construction crews could upgrade some sewer and utilities for them. The city paid for these upgrades. The city figured that since the construction crews were already digging in the area, they may as well upgrade the city.

“We are really working hard together to try and find ways to use our money wisely,” Aiken said. “It is saving them (the city) time and money and we are happy to do that. It’s makes a better project for both of us. It didn’t seem to make sense to put a beautiful road in and then tear it up right after.”

One small issue for the construction that seems to be unique to Ellensburg was the wind. Aiken and Gardella said they had two water trucks on-site to keep the dust down, but it wasn’t enough. Gardella said the average day, the wind wasn’t an issue, but there have been a couple of days where “the water was evaporating before they could apply it.”

To combat this problem, the crews added a product to the water that will remain in the soil to help with the dust. Gardella said this has been working on the few days where they have needed it.

A part of the construction of the schools is the extension of Cora Street north to meet the new school. Cora will intersect the John Wayne Trail, and people walking the trail will be able to clearly see it. The street is currently gravel, with the occasional truck crossing. Aiken said the street won’t be paved until much later in construction.

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