Bigger, better new school

MARYSVILLE — Ryan Shay was more than ready for the new Marysville Arts &Technology High School campus to open Monday.

At the old campus, he had spent more than three years in tight quarters in a leased building shared with an aerospace manufacturing company.

“When I walked in, I almost cried,” said Shay, 18, a senior. “It was so beautiful. It looks like a school and that is really something special.”

Everything looked new and smelled new.

Distracting noises that carried in the old building seem muffled in the new one.

With the move, space has been expanded from 21,000 to 39,000 square feet.

Sciences classes will have two labs instead of one along with better equipment.

There will be access to a gym and students will have their own workout room instead of yoga and pilates in the cafeteria and a couple of basketball hoops in the parking lot.

There’s a small stage with dressing rooms and students finally have the space for school-wide assemblies.

“I guess I feel like we are finally home,” Shay said. And an unusual home it is.

The custom-designed school was built in sections in a factory. The more than 120 pieces were joined together, somewhat similarly to the way a Boeing 787 is assembled.

The two-tone green building, which stretches longer than a football field, was built at the 57-acre Whitley Evergreen Inc. grounds at Smokey Point. The pieces were trucked along roads paralleling I-5 to the Tulalip Indian Reservation, where the building was reassembled by crane.

Inside are enough single-story classrooms for 400 students and several common areas with 28-foot high ceilings and glass to bring in natural light.

Arts &Technology is the first of three small schools that will open on the site just south of Quil Ceda Elementary School in what will be called the Marysville Secondary Campus.

Tulalip Heritage High School and Tenth Street School, a middle school, are also being built in the Smokey Point factory, each with different designs. Tulalip Heritage is expected to open next month, followed by Tenth Street. All are districtwide option programs students can choose instead of attending more traditional schools.

The $24.7 million price tag is being paid for by fees charged to developers to offset the effects of growth.

Monday’s opening came as a relief for John Bingham, the district’s capital projects director, who arrived early to watch the reactions from students to their new school.

“There were a lot of smiling faces this morning,” he said.

As Principal Frank Redmon walked down the halls Monday, he pointed to the stage and talked about how students could better share their work. He also mentioned the science labs, where students have more space and better equipment.

“All of this just allows a lot more flexibility to our program,” he said.

The district had hoped to open Marysville A&T in September, but the delay didn’t seem to bother Shay on Monday.

“The wait is definitely worth it,” he said.

Reporter Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446 or e-mail stevick@heraldnet.com.

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