Land use designation process for Moses Lake 12th elementary school still in the works

Mar. 21—EPHRATA — Advertising for bids for — and construction of — the 12th elementary school in Moses Lake is on hold while the land sale is still pending. Grant County officials said the process of revising the land use designations to allow construction and use is ongoing.

The new school will be located at the intersection of Road N NE and Westshore Drive NE in Mae Valley. Architect Matt Whitish estimated at a March 2023 Moses Lake School Board meeting that the project could be advertised for bid by the end of 2023, with a groundbreaking in spring 2024.

Construction starting in spring 2024 would mean the building would be ready for occupancy about the start of the 2025-26 school year. But the project has not been advertised for bid yet, and site preparation and construction haven't started.

Moses Lake Superintendent Monty Sabin said district officials are still deciding how they want to proceed when they do get permission to start the project.

"A firm decision hasn't been made yet," Sabin said.

The new school has not been named yet. Sabin said in an earlier interview that there's a policy for that, and school officials will be working through the process.

Grant County Auditor Melissa McKnight said the assessor's office does not yet have a survey recorded for the property. The Moses Lake School District is buying a section of a bigger piece of property the owners want to divide into additional parcels. That process requires what is called a short plat. A short plat needs a survey, which is the responsibility of the seller, and that hasn't been submitted yet, McKnight said.

"We would love to move forward with it," she said.

In the meantime the assessor's office staff is working on the project where they can, she said. The property has been assigned a parcel number, but a recent computer system upgrade is causing problems in recording updated information.

"Every time we go to add a parcel number, we break (the system)," she said. "And it takes a day to unbreak it."

The new school will be on 14 acres, which includes the building, the playfields and parking lots. The building will use the same basic design as Groff Elementary, with some modifications that came out of a couple of years of experience at Groff.

The parent pickup and drop-off areas will be bigger and the heating-cooling system will be modified. Access to the kitchen was changed to make it easier to deliver food. Classrooms on the second floor will be slightly bigger, and the windows will be slightly smaller.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.