Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy. The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.
On October 10 the new Eisenhower High School was officially dedicated. And while the event itself was impressive, with local dignitaries, business leaders, educators and students all on hand to celebrate, the real celebration goes to the community who, back in 2009 passed a school bond financing major improvements to many local schools. In addition to the new Eisenhower High School, the bond measure included major modernization of Davis High School, replacement of Stanton Academy, extensive work at Garfield, Hoover, McKinley and Nob Hill elementary schools and the Discovery Lab School. The support and commitment from everyone involved illustrates, in grand fashion, the importance our community places on education and our kids.
The original high school was opened in 1957 and was built to hold 1,300 students. Fifty six years later and almost a thousand more students than originally planned for, something needed to be done. Issues facing Eisenhower included infrastructure reaching end of useful life (heating, ventilation, cooling, electrical power); inadequate systems (telecommunications, technology support, security, safety); and inadequate teaching spaces (both insufficient in number and out of date).
Pictures don’t do the new sprawling gem justice. The tour alone takes more than an hour to complete. It is modern, bright and inspires learning at every turn down a new hall. “The real payday of this project is in the excitement from the community, the students and faculty. When you walk through the halls there isn’t one person who isn’t excited about being there. It is beyond a physical gem when you see kids smiling and happy to be in school. That’s what the real impact of this school has had,” said Mary Beth Wright, Community Relations Director for the Yakima School District.
From this: To this in less than 1 year:
By the numbers the construction is impressive by any standards, the old school campus was 220,000 square feet, the new school is 327,000 costing approximately $106.6 million dollars to build. Click here to view a time lapse video on the project. If you are able to stop in make sure you tour the performing art center which seats almost 800 people, the commons area and courtyard and the state-of-the-art fitness facility. There are five different staircases, guaranteeing a lot of lost freshman in the fall and no student lockers.
“Recognizing that today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, we must remember that our community’s greatest resource is our children,” Elaine Beraza, Superintendent Yakima School District.