Groundbreaking for the new Toledo High School is scheduled for early November with students expected to learn in the new classrooms by April 2021.

“It’s very aggressive,” Superintendent Chris Rust said of the construction timeline. “We are trying to take advantage of state matching funds this year so that we can avoid having 6 percent inflation take a million dollars out of our project.”

If the 26-member design committee of community, school board, staff members and students has its way, the outside of the building may resemble Bud Hawk Elementary School in Bremerton with amenities like those featured inside the Beavers’ new Woodland High School.

“What the group came to is they’d like to have the interior of Woodland High School at 178,000 square feet in the exterior of Bud Hawk Elementary, which is about 68,000 square feet, so if you have a shoehorn, we’re looking for it,” Rust said at the Big Toledo Community Meeting Thursday night.

The district’s lead architect is Ross Parker of DOWA-IBI, who designed Bud Hawk Elementary, a $27 million school for 550 students with a large pitched roof, peeled logs for columns, interior masonry, an outdoor courtyard and an overall appearance resembling a lodge. A civil engineer working on the project is Jason King, a 2007 Toledo High School graduate.

“We are thrilled to have someone from Toledo working on this project,” Rust said.

Project manager is Doug Nichols of Nichols Consulting, who served in the same role for Lintott Elementary School in Chehalis and Woodland High School.

Rust described Nicholas as “the person who makes sure we don’t get taken to the cleaners, that we get good value for our dollars.”

Our grandsons attend Woodland’s new $62.5 million state-of-the-art school, built for 900 students, which features a weight room, remote-controlled lockdown systems, classroom surround-sound, built-in microphone systems, common spaces in natural light, a car and metallurgy shop, a horticulture greenhouse, well-equipped art and home economics rooms, floor-to-ceiling interior windows in each classroom, acoustic-friendly band room, and electric clocks to display text messages.

“There were a lot of comments about a second story that had glass to overlook other spaces like commons and a gymnasium,” Rust said. Toledo’s existing gymnasium may be retained.

Surveyors are working at the school site and a consultant is conducting a historical analysis for the Department of Historical and Archaeological Preservation. At this point no archaeological survey is required, Rust said. Engineers are doing a structural analysis of the existing building and the construction schedule is being finalized. But Rust said the district hopes to seek bids in late September, open them in early November, and break ground on the new school immediately.

It took five tries, but voters finally approved a $7 million bond in November for constructing a new high school — with a lot of help from the state. Thanks to 19th District state lawmakers, Toledo received a $10 million state grant for distressed schools and $8 million in state School Construction Assistance Program funding, bringing the total for a new high school to $25 million.

The bond will run 21 years with a rate of 76 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value, or $152 a year for the owners of a $200,000 home. The school is being built to last the community 50 years.

The design committee members will meet every Thursday through October, devoting about eight hours a month. The next meeting is at 6 p.m. Thursday at the high school. New members can still join the committee, Rust said. To share what’s happening with the construction, Rust has started a blog at



Julie McDonald, a personal historian from Toledo, may be reached at

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