North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Lakewood's new high school on track for Sept. opening

 

August 16, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

The commons area for the new Lakewood High School.

The new Lakewood High School is on schedule to open for students the first day of the upcoming school year this September.

Lakewood School District officials report that the new high school construction is still ongoing, but on track to be finished.

"We're excited. It's going to be a great space. When this is done it's going to be one of the top facilities in the area for educating kids," said Dale Leach, director of facilities at the Lakewood School District.

The construction is funded from a $66.8 million bond that Lakewood voters passed in 2014. The two-story building will be around 160,000-square-feet, said Leach.

"We've got new programs, new spaces, we've got efficiencies in our systems, and good lighting in all our classrooms," he said.

There are a number of improvements over the current school, Leach said.

"The learning environment for all of our students is going to be better. At the old school we had 10 classrooms that had no windows in them," he said.

Every classroom in the new building will have access to natural light.

In addition, the windows on the second story often have good views of the surrounding Lakewood area, said Leach.

"People like the south windows because they have a view of the football field, but I think once all the other fields are done, the north will also have a nice view of Mount Baker and our baseball fields and tennis courts," he said.

Additional spaces, classrooms and offices around the school offer a lot more choice for the district.

"There are lots of opportunities that we can offer now that we were limited before," said Leach.

The school's career center now has a dedicated office and area at the school.

"I am excited about it because I also do CTE (Career and Technical Education) here and it is nice to have our own space for the career secretary," he said.

There is a new cooking lab, which will likely be used more for independent skills classes than culinary arts classes, said Leach.

"My son went to community college right after graduating high school and went directly to an apartment, and so he had to learn those skills, but he had our support. For kids that need that support, it's good to give them this opportunity," said Leach.

A fitness room is now available right next to the school's weight room as well.

"We can do yoga in here, spin classes, and a lot of other things that we haven't had the opportunity to do just because of the lack of space," said Leach.

A second smaller gym is also nearing completion at the building. "We've never had one of those before," said Leach.

Leach noted that returning features will usually be getting better or bigger.

"Everything is just a little bit larger and it's going to be really nice," he said.

The primary gymnasium now features bleachers on both sides of the gym, and new scoreboards that have video display capability.

There are two additional locker rooms that will make it easy for the district to host tournaments.

The new commons area for the school features a screen that will be big enough for a large crowd.

The kitchen there is also bigger. "It's probably three times the size," said Leach.

In addition, it will likely be more efficient for students and will hopefully reduce waiting times for lunch lines.

"We'll have numerous points of sale and we'll also be able to offer more options as we have more space," said Leach.

The district's auditorium stage and seating is about the same size as before, but has more supporting rooms around it.

There are now green rooms and a vestibule to take tickets or greet visitors at.

"We didn't have the vestibule before, you open the door and you're in the theater," said Leach.

The auditorium is also the construction area most behind currently, he said, because of the "extremely wet winter" which has delayed that area of the building.

The new school also moves away from the old Lakewood High School's "open campus" model which exposed 60 to 65 doors directly to the outside.

The new high school has one main entrance and doors are locked except during the beginning or end of day so that visitors have to go through the main office to get into the building.

Christopher Andersson

Construction crews work on the outside of the new Lakewood High School on Aug. 11.

"Models like this are becoming really common for schools," said Leach, as they help ensure security of all rooms in the building.

Currently the building is "at or just a little under budget."

Leach said that the construction team has worked hard to get the school ready for the school.

"It was a very aggressive build to have this done," he said.

"It's hard to believe that in just a couple of weeks we're going to have teachers here and in a month we're going to have hundreds of students in here," he said.

Leach also hopes that the building will be able to serve the community at large.

"It's a real blessing for our community. We'll be able to host events and presentations," he said.

"Everyone knows Lakewood doesn't have a downtown, so this could really be a gathering point for our community," he said.

 

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