Peninsula School District’s newest elementary school will be named Swift Water Elementary following a school board vote at the PSD Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, Feb. 25.
The school, located at 10811 Harbor Hill Drive in Gig Harbor, is currently under construction and will open in fall 2021 for the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. Until its naming, the school had formerly been known as Elementary School No. 9.
A naming committee of parent community members, school core planning staff, additional PSD staff, and district administration received naming recommendations from the community via a survey. The committee narrowed the list to present the school board with five names from which Swift Water Elementary was chosen with a 5-0 board vote.
The naming recognizes the original inhabitants of Gig Harbor. The name Swift Water is taken from the translation of the Gig Harbor’s original Native American inhabitants (sx̌ʷəbabš) and their connection to the swift currents of the Narrows Passage. The Swift Water band of the Puyallup Tribe gifted a native building recognizing that the settlers needed one to teach their children.
The district purchased the parcel of land where Swift Water Elementary is being constructed in 2013, with anticipation of the increasing number of students residing in Gig Harbor North. The groundbreaking ceremony for the 74,000 square foot facility took place nearly a year ago on Feb. 27, 2020.
The construction of Swift Water Elementary is one of four elementary school projects, and six projects overall, made possible by the community passing a 2019 capital bond. On Feb. 12, 2019 the PSD community passed a $198.55 million bond for school construction to address extreme elementary overcrowding and other emergent infrastructure needs.
Also included in the 2019 bond are the replacements of Artondale Elementary School and Evergreen Elementary School, along with the recently-completed construction of Pioneer Elementary on Skansie Avenue.
Because of cost-saving steps made by the district, additional state assistance for Swift Water Elementary, and an accelerated construction schedule for elementary projects, the district is also modernizing and adding classrooms at Kopachuck Middle School and Key Peninsula Middle school using 2019 capital bond funds.
The naming of Swift Water Elementary on Feb. 25 came one day after the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Pioneer Elementary. Pioneer, which began its inaugural 2020-2021 school year temporarily housed at Henderson Bay High School, opened its new facility for students on Jan. 19, 2021.
Swift Water Elementary will become the 10th elementary school to open in PSD, as part of 17 schools overall. Pioneer and Swift Water are the first new, added elementary school communities in the district in 34 years.
Find more information about PSD school construction at psd401.net/capitalprojects.