EAST WENATCHEE — Eastmont’s $17.8 million slate of construction projects will be put out to bid again in January, with construction to start in 2020 and be complete by fall 2021.

The change — the result of having no interested bidders on the projects this spring — pushes back the construction by a year of 20 new classrooms, four cafeterias and other improvements across five elementary schools. The projects are part of the district’s grade reconfiguration shift that puts kindergarten through sixth grade in the elementary schools and creates two junior high schools for grades 7-9, which requires a transition of Sterling Intermediate for kindergarten through seventh grade into Sterling Junior High for grades 7-9.

The district initially put the projects out to bid in late April, with a bid opening date in mid-May, with the hope of getting started in June, as soon as school was released for the summer. Superintendent Garn Christensen said the qualified contractors, mostly based in Spokane, Tri-Cities and Seattle, were not interested at that point, which was late in the season for public works construction projects.

The bid opening was delayed to early June in the hopes of getting some late interest, but it didn’t happen. The hope is contractors will be more interested in the winter, as they are setting up plans for next year.

Despite the construction delay, some changes in preparation for the reconfiguration already are underway.

“We are slowly phasing out the elementary (grades) at Sterling,” said Spencer Taylor, Eastmont’s director of elementary education. “This year there will be one section of second grade and two sections of third grade, no kinder, no first grade and no fourth grade. Most of the students who would have gone to Sterling are at Kenroy, with some at Lee Elementary School.”

For updates on the reconfiguration and construction projects, go to the district’s website at wwrld.us/eastmontconstruction.

Nevonne McDaniels: 664-7151

mcdaniels@wenatcheeworld.com