lakewood WA high Lakewood School District
Lakewood High School opens to students on Sept. 6.

New high school set to open in Lakewood (Wash.) district

The new Lakewood High is nearly twice as large as the facility it is replacing.

Teachers and staff are in the Lakewood (Wash.) district are getting their new high school ready for students next week.

The Arlington Times reports that the 162,500-square-foot Lakewood High School sits on a 36-acre campus in Arlington, Wash., and has been built for a capacity of 825 students. The high school has been constructed just south of the building it is replacing. The old high, at 89,000 square feet, was nearly half the size of the new campus.

Voters in the Lakewood district passed a $66.8 million bond in 2014 to pay for the project. The bond funds were intended to upgrade the high school, but the school board chose instead to build a new school and demolish the old one. The school board approved a $48.5 million contract last year with Allied Construction Associates to build the school.

Students will begin classes on Wednesday, but some parts of the facility are not yet complete. A 275-seat performing arts center, as well as band and choir rooms, may not be ready until November, for example, and demolition to remove the old school is still in progress.

The classrooms have adjustable lighting controls and window space letting in natural light, which wasn’t always the case at the old high school, says District Facilities Supervisor Dale Leach. Some rooms were small, while others had no windows. 

Student safety and security are are a priority in the new building, says Leach.

Those entering the building during the school day are funneled through a two-story glass entryway that leads into into the main office, All but the main door lock automatically when school is in session. In the event of a lockdown or emergency, all doors can lock at the push of a button. Safety gates at various access points also have been installed around the school.

The school features classrooms built for specific subjects, such as larger science rooms, a digital art room with a design studio and kiln, a 2D-3D studio, manufacturing, robotics and machining labs with space for computer-aided design and drafting, and a horticulture lab with easy access to a nearby greenhouse. There will also be an auxiliary gym and practice room for wrestling and gymnastics, the latter of which may temporarily be used by the band and choir classes.

The hub of the school is the commons, an open-air atrium with cafeteria seating, kitchen and various other features that will give students room to meet and socialize.

Lakewood Superintendent Michaael Mack says he is most proud of the career and counseling services on the second floor of the school's commons.

“That’s kind of our ‘career, college and beyond’ wing, and it’s close to the library,” Mack says. In the old building, these services were scattered, but now they’re just a few steps away from each other to help students plan their future, and the rooms are wired for fast searches on the internet.

The architect is McGranahan Architects.

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