TULALIP — A student builds a fan with a feather in art class. A teacher writes an equation on a white board. A totem pole takes shape outside.
Heritage High School finally has a permanent home.
The school, built of more than 40 factory-made module sections, opened on St. Patrick’s Day with 86 American Indian students.
Native culture, art and history are threaded through all the classes at Heritage.
The school has operated in various forms since the 1990s, but this is its first permanent building.
“It’s better for the kids and they’re what matter,” said Principal Martha Fulton. “They’ve never had anything like this. They’ve lived and worked in portables.”
Heritage High is one of three schools on the Marysville Secondary Campus at Tulalip. The Marysville Arts &Technology High School opened in December and Tenth Street School, a middle school, is scheduled to open April 28. The schools share a common cafeteria, gym and health room, but otherwise operate independently.
At Heritage, seven classrooms branch from a common area like the tentacles of an octopus. Large interior windows let students gaze across the common area into other classrooms.
A row of windows punctuates the top of the walls in the common area, flooding it with light. Wooden panels wrap the bottom. An industrial-looking heating pipe snakes along the ceiling.
Eventually, the white, antiseptic walls will be covered with colorful tribal art and artifacts, Fulton said.
The school was factory-built, but lacks the look and feel of portables, said John Bingham, capital projects director for the Marysville School District.
“We’ve really done a lot to make you feel when you walk in the door like you’re not going into a portable,” Bingham said, standing in the common area surveying the school. “We built these things on steroids.”