LAKE STEVENS — Cooper Clairmont used to dread waking up early. That changed with the recent remodel at Lake Stevens High School.
He has an early-morning meeting about once a week, now in a classroom with a glimpse of the Cascade Range. Photos of the view regularly end up on Snapchat, the high school junior said.
“I’m just telling you, ASB meetings in the morning are amazing,” he said. “You can look out onto the balcony and then you have Mount Pilchuck and a perfect sunrise.”
Clairmont, 17, and his classmates started to use the new building in November. On Thursday, local leaders and others were invited to the school for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Afterward they toured the building.
Construction isn’t finished yet. This was the first of three phases, but also the biggest. Students now have new classrooms, along with a library and gym.
Not everything was replaced. Parts of the old campus, such as the pool, can be seen in the new building. It has the same footprint as before, but most of it has been remodeled.
Locker rooms now have shiny white-and-purple tile on the walls, with private showers and changing spaces. The bleachers are ventilated, so they don’t get as warm as the rest of the room.
The student store, called The Cove, is near the new front doors. Hungry kids and teachers can order food where the entrance to the performing arts center used to be.
Next, crews plan to renovate two older buildings to house special education classes, as well as career and technical education. Some of that work has already started.
School upgrades have been in the pipeline for years. Voters in 2016 approved a $116 million bond to pay for renovations. Construction began in June 2018.
The school’s logo also has has a new look. A new Viking was designed by students, staff and alumni. The image was unveiled in late 2019, and has been incorporated around the school.
One of the main improvements is the gym. Windows along the high ceiling let in plenty of natural light that shines on glossy wooden floors.
Wandered around the recently remodeled Lake Stevens High School today. Students now have new classrooms, plus an updated pool, gym and library.
Here’s the gym: pic.twitter.com/Perv6KCFOy
— Stephanie Davey (@stephrdavey) February 28, 2020
Hand-painted paper signs above the bleachers designate where sophomores, juniors and seniors sit. Basketball rims with tempered glass backboards line the room, and an electric scoreboard keeps track of which team is in the lead.
Before, there wasn’t enough room for everyone to fit in the gymnasium, district spokesperson Jayme Taylor said.
Students have been excited about the upgrades.
“The old space was old, and it showed that,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of pride.”
Parts of the building feel more like a college than a high school. Chairs and desks fill nooks in the halls, where students can relax or study.
The new library isn’t a room. Instead, books are displayed in hallways. Giant windows provide mountain views.
On Thursday, the high school’s drumline, Purple Thunder, played as visitors flooded through the front doors.
Superintendent Amy Beth Cook began to speak once everyone took their seats on big concrete steps facing the student store. She’s glad the Vikings have a school they can be proud of.
“Our students finally have a space that matches all of the amazing things they do here,” she said. “We look as good on the outside as all the things that happen on the inside.”