Renton Secondary Learning Center to open in fall
By TRACEY COMPTON
Renton Reporter Staff writer
April 5, 2012 · Updated 11:01 AM
Renton’s Secondary Learning Center only has six months of scheduled construction left before it will open to high school students in fall 2012.
Designed to be an alternative high school, it was officially named at a school district board meeting on Feb. 29.
There has been a committee working on developing aspects of the program for two years, said Kathleen Bailey, district chief academic officer in an e-mail.
Two students joined the committee of three administrators and six staff members for the naming process.
The group came up with two options, which Bailey presented at the board meeting: The Secondary Learning Center and Cedar River Secondary Learning Center.
The former was chosen after a brief discussion between board members, in which they decided the center was not located near enough to the Cedar River to take that name. The school is located at 7800 S. 132th St. on West Hill.
The new center is on the former site of Black River High School; it has been under construction since summer 2010.
“It’s a configuration that fits the program; it won’t be like trying to fit in someone else’s clothes,” said Jack Connell, a district facilities project manager.
In the past the alternative program was in a former elementary school, which didn’t always comfortably fit the programs designed for the students, he said.
The new construction now features space for science labs, a pre-engineering lab, culinary arts program facilities, a production arts lab and a fitness center.
“We’re not trying to limit anything the students do here,” Connell said.
The school provides “non-traditional instructional models for students who have not experienced success in comprehensive high schools,” said Bailey.
The lack of success could be due to attendance, academic or behavior issues, she added.
The Secondary Learning Center will offer high school students basic education programs, including mathematics, reading, writing and science in innovative classes with web-based program, a district release stated.
The building also includes some energy conservation techniques never tried before in district facilities.
One example is a “gray water” technology system that will collect treat and reuses rain water runoff from the roof to flush toilets.
An LED light display in central areas of the school will show how the school is doing with energy efficiency in real time.
Displaying colors from red being the worst to blue, the best, it will measure the building’s energy efficiency.
School staff can then respond by turning off lights for example to adjust efficiency, said Connell.
Lots of natural light is designed for the school, with plenty of clearstory windows and a two-story glass structure for the main entry.
Construction crews have had to deal with a particularly wet site and several burglaries on the property early on.
Phase two of the project began in June 2011. It includes work on the new building construction, final on-site improvements, such as parking, automobile and pedestrian circulation, site lighting, landscaping, a required off-site street, curbs, gutter improvements and other utility relocations and coordination.
Approximately 350 students are anticipated to attend The Secondary Learning Center in the fall.Contact Renton Reporter Staff writer Tracey Compton at email@example.com or 425-255-3484, ext. 5052.