By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — The excitement came as a low murmur. It soon gathered strength as dozens of kids turned into hundreds waiting at the assembly during the first day of class at their new school.
“It doesn’t have a weird smell, like the old school,” said Mariah Fulton, 13, an eighth-grader.
School’s officially in session at the new Valley View Middle School, at 14308 Broadway Ave. NE in Snohomish. The $86 million project was paid for with money raised in a $268 million bond approved by voters in 2008.
“It’s going to be an amazing first day of school,” Principal Nancy Rhoades said to the students at the new main gym. “It’s going to be an amazing year.”
To help familiarize students, only eighth-graders attended school on Tuesday. Seventh-graders will have the school for themselves Wednesday. All 785 students will be there starting Thursday.
The new 167,000-square-foot building has 24 classrooms plus science labs, a library, gyms and a presentation hall. It has three floors, mostly made of brick and steel, and was designed to be more energy-efficient to lower operational costs.
There is still some work to be done, which includes landscaping, finishing some indoor railings and setting up the school library.
The bond money has already paid to build Riverview and Machias elementary schools, and to remodel and expand Snohomish High School and Centennial Middle School.
The only remaining big project is the Aquatic Center, which is currently being built on Maple Avenue Campus, 601 Glen Ave.
After the short assembly ended, students were given a tour of their new school.
Alexander Tilden, 13, was looking at a map before his group got to the band classroom.
“I think that is really cool they built a new school,” Alexander said. “The other school was small, crowded and full of graffiti from other students.”
Tyler Tschantre, 13, thought the new school was going to be smaller. He was looking forward to his art class because of what he saw in the classroom.
“It was more organized,” Tyler said. “I wanted to use everything that was in there.”
Students and teachers helped design the school. This way, their needs can be met today and in the years to come, Superintendent Bill Mester said.
The teachers were also enjoying the new school as much as their students.
Band teacher Mike Mines said his two new music rooms had everything he asked for.
“It’s beautiful. It has the light, acoustics, technology and room to practice,” Mines said.
The old Valley View campus was not user-friendly and students needed to go outside the building to get from class to class.
Snohomish School District was the largest district in Snohomish County to start classes Tuesday. Students from Darrington, Lakewood and Northshore also started.
Most school districts, including Everett, Mukilteo, Edmonds and Monroe start Wednesday.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; firstname.lastname@example.org.