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Published: Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 12:01 a.m.

Discord over Costco at Lynnwood school site

Sarah Mallos lives in Renton, but stays in touch with friends from Lynnwood High School days. Lately, they've had a hot topic to discuss: Costco.
“One classmate said, ‘Oh, the Little Theater is going to be a Costco produce department,' ” she said Monday.
Mallos, who was Sarah Lambert when she graduated from Lynnwood High in 1981, has known for years that her alma mater was destined for shopping space.
It was 2006 when a Texas developer presented a plan to turn the land where Mallos went to high school into a retail area to generate income for the Edmonds School District.
Lynnwood High's old campus, just north of Alderwood mall, was demolished in October. The new Lynnwood High School, east of Lynnwood near Bothell, opened in 2009.
The guessing game ended earlier this month. Developer Cypress Equities and the school district revealed that Costco is expected to be the 40-acre site's first tenant.
“My classmates all wanted Ikea or Trader Joe's,” Mallos said. She would have preferred a pedestrian-friendly project like The Landing in Renton or the Redmond Town Center.
“I was shocked that it was Costco. I've never heard of a Costco that close to a mall,” said Rhonda Hampson, a 1987 graduate of Lynnwood High who teaches at the new campus. “Personally, the new Costco will be a lot closer, but I can't imagine the traffic,” she said.
Already there are Costco Warehouse stores in south Everett near Silver Lake, north of Marysville near Twin Lakes, in Shoreline, and a smaller business Costco on Highway 99 in Lynnwood. More shops and restaurants are expected at the development called Lynnwood Crossing.
Hampson isn't happy about the loss of athletic fields at the old site. “I really wanted the fields to stay. The city is going to miss that,” she said. “My husband plays softball, and he's not sure he has a league next year. They don't have a field.”
Alumni from the school that opened in the early 1970s remember the area as largely rural. Some made use of the place cleared before the mall was built. “We rode motorcycles and all kinds of things out there. The land was cleared and flat, and had all the entryways,” said Jim Shaw, who graduated in 1975.
The Lynnwood man said it's sad for him that none of the buildings where he went to school still exist. “My mom attended school in Sioux City, Iowa. She graduated in the 1950s, and that building is still there,” Shaw said.
Tanya Jones Ward, of Arlington, is a records keeper for Lynnwood High's class of 1981. She is planning the 30-year reunion this summer. Her class started high school a year before the mall opened. “The newly developed streets were occasionally used for muscle cars from auto shop classes to show off their stuff, and have mini-drag races,” Ward said.
When Alderwood opened in 1979, she said, “most of us were turning 16 and had scored our first jobs working at the new mall.
“We even held one of our proms at the mall,” Ward said.
She believes development was inevitable. “The school was sitting on a gold mine,” she said.
Ward has been trying to get bricks from the old school from DMSL Construction, which worked on the demolition. She hopes to have them as souvenirs at the reunion.
Ikea was Ward's choice for the area. “I don't think I've heard one person say they were excited about Costco taking over the site,” Ward said.
Mark Bowron, of Laughlin, Nev., is one alumnus pleased with the choice. “Viewing photos of the demolition a few months ago, I felt no sense of loss. If anything, I felt pleased that things were finally moving along,” said Bowron, who graduated in 1978. “Bottom line is, the school district will have a solid tenant. Furthermore, I like to shop at Costco,” he said.
Bowron also remembers the old days. “There was this massive dirt lot. Kids would take their beater cars out there and drive crazy,” he said.
Sue Bryant, of Camano Island, was part of Lynnwood High's class of 1975. “It was a really cool school, and I enjoyed going there,” she said. Bryant joked about the demise of buildings that were new during milestones in her life. She was married March 27, 1976, the day the Kingdome opened. The Kingdome was demolished March 26, 2000.
“Now my high school is history,” Bryant said. “Thankfully, I'm still married to the same wonderful man. My personal life has not gone in the same direction as these structures that were so modern in their day.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460,
Story tags » LynnwoodLynnwood High School

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