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Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2011, 7:41 p.m.

Students eager to explore new schools in Snohomish

Students arrive to marvel at rebuilt Riverview and Machias elementaries

  • Teacher Peggy Panko leads her class of fourth- and fifth-graders up the stairs to see their classroom for the first time Tuesday morning in the new Ri...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Teacher Peggy Panko leads her class of fourth- and fifth-graders up the stairs to see their classroom for the first time Tuesday morning in the new Riverview Elementary School in Snohomish.

  • Emma Lande (left) Sami Reynolds, both fifth-graders, and Quinn Ottison and Abbey Anderson, both sixth-graders, listen to a welcome by Riverview Elemen...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Emma Lande (left) Sami Reynolds, both fifth-graders, and Quinn Ottison and Abbey Anderson, both sixth-graders, listen to a welcome by Riverview Elementary School Principal Tammy Jones.

  • Riverview Elementary School student Ben Kloes leads the way Tuesday as students file off the bus to head into their new building, are greeted by Princ...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Riverview Elementary School student Ben Kloes leads the way Tuesday as students file off the bus to head into their new building, are greeted by Principal Tammy Jones and then run a lineup of high-fives from a group of volunteer dads.

  • Teacher Peggy Panko points out some of the high-tech features built into the ceiling of her new classroom for fourth- and fifth-grade students Tuesday...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    Teacher Peggy Panko points out some of the high-tech features built into the ceiling of her new classroom for fourth- and fifth-grade students Tuesday morning in the brand new Riverview Elementary School in Snohomish.

SNOHOMISH — It was just after 8 a.m. and Principal Tammy Jones stood outside the new Riverview Elementary School when the first of eight school buses started arriving.
A group of teachers and volunteers behind Jones applauded as the students walked off the buses.
Tuesday was the first day for Riverview and Machias elementary schools, and hundreds of children got their first glimpse of their new classrooms and campuses.
Before classes started at Riverview, all the children lined up in the commons for a speech by Jones and welcoming messages from teachers and staff. The children sang the school song, and Jones told them to take care of the school, because it's a gift from the community.
“Isn't this the best present you have ever gotten?” Jones said to the schoolchildren.
“Yeah!” they yelled in one voice.
Riverview and Machias elementary schools were demolished 18 months ago and new schools were built on the same properties. Riverview is located at 7322 64th St. SE, Snohomish; Machias is at 601 Glen St., also in Snohomish.
While the new schools were built, the kids from both schools — about 850 of them — shared the former Snohomish Freshman Campus on Glen Street.
The new schools are being paid for with $261 million from a bond measure Snohomish School District voters approved in 2008.
Final construction costs for Machias is expected to be around $31 million and Riverview's tab is expected to be $33 million. The district saved about $9 million in construction costs over the original construction estimates.
The rest of the money from the bond will pay for other schools around the district including an aquatic center.
Riverview has two floors, a lab for arts and sciences, computers a gym and interactive whiteboards in every classroom.
The students said they were excited about their new school.
“It feels like a high school, not an elementary school,” said fifth-grader Emma Lande, 10.
“It's scary but cool,” classmate Sami Reynolds, 11, said.
The best part of the new school is it's not as crowded as the temporary campus, 11-year old Terrin Marchant said.
“We don't have to share it with others,” said Terrin, who is a sixth-grader.
Construction is not finished. Painting, landscaping and some concrete work still needs to be done, but most of the work left to be completed is away from classrooms or scheduled after school hours, Jones said.
After the school assembly, Jones gave tours to show the new facilities to parents, many who were as excited as the children.
“It's a fresh start,” said Steve Swartzell, who has a son in third grade. “It brings a new sense of community.”
Ken Hammond has a son enrolled in fifth grade and said the school is beautiful.
“It's a great place for kids to learn,” he said.
The former school buildings were the oldest in the district and were falling apart. It would have been difficult to install modern computer and other technology in the old buildings, said Shaunna Ballas, who is part of the school board and who has two children enrolled in Riverview.
“We were fortunate the bond was passed before the economic downturn,” she said. “We have a supportive community concerned about education.”
At Machias Elementary School, the 430 students were eager to explore their new school, classrooms and playgrounds, principal Ginny Schilaty said. The kids were energized and lively throughout the first day.
In a word, Schilaty said the day was fabulous.
“It is our school,” Schilaty said.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.


Story tags » Machias ElementaryRiverview Elementary

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