Preparing for the Future of Bellingham Schools
This post was originally written by Heather Good, former MFA Senior Hydrogeologist.
Thanks to years of hard work and diligence, Bellingham Public Schools (BPS) has had a lot to celebrate recently.
In August 2017 BPS celebrated the grand reopening of its Options High School in a new building. The event was the culmination of BPS’s 2012–2013 Facilities Planning Task Force’s planning efforts and celebrated a bond measure that local voters passed in 2013 to fund facilities projects.
More recently, BPS commemorated other major milestones associated with the Options High School project: the two properties on which the school was built received No Further Action determinations from the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology), and BPS received two grants to cover costs associated with soil cleanup during redevelopment.
During construction of the new Options High School facility, BPS identified evidence of soil contamination associated with the properties’ historical industrial uses. BPS engaged Maul Foster & Alongi, Inc. to conduct environmental assessment and site characterization and cleanup activities to address the contaminated soil.
With MFA’s assistance, BPS entered Ecology’s Voluntary Cleanup Program and applied for remedial action grants. These Ecology grants help ease the cost burden associated with preparing the land for redevelopment and provide additional revenue that will fund future BPS facility improvements.
These recent milestones are a result of BPS’s rigorous efforts to bring its properties into compliance with state cleanup standards and to obtain funding that can now be used to improve facilities that will serve the community into the future.
MFA congratulates BPS for their achievements and applauds their diligent work to improve existing school facilities and provide quality education to the students of Bellingham.