Everett Public Schools
                                An architectural drawing shows a major construction project at North Middle School.

Everett Public Schools An architectural drawing shows a major construction project at North Middle School.

No name change for North Middle School in Everett

The School Board voted 3-1 against a change; the school is about to start a $50 million renovation.

EVERETT — North Middle School’s name is one of the few aspects not changing amid a campus transformation.

Everett School Board Director Ted Wenta had proposed a potential name change in May. Under district policy, that requires a process lasting several months.

The school board Tuesday voted 3-1 against exploring that option. Wenta was absent.

North is about to start a $50 million renovation. The project includes a two-story building with 30 classrooms, an expanded parking lot and upgrades for the track, field, gym and cafeteria. North’s capacity will decrease slightly, though its classrooms will be larger.

North is the third school on the campus, which has a nearly 100-year history on Rainier Avenue. In that time, the site has had three names and two mascots.

Luann Baker is a seventh-grade teacher at North. She spoke at the meeting Tuesday against a potential name change.

Baker said North should be treated like other schools in the district that have gone through major renovations. Jefferson, Monroe, Silver Lake and Whittier elementaries went through similar transformations after a 2006 bond passed. None were renamed.

Board President Caroline Mason said there’s no precedent for a name change.

“We don’t rename schools just because we spiffy them up,” she said.

The lone “yes” vote came from director Traci Mitchell, who said changing the name should be a decision involving the public.

Director Pam LeSesne said she wasn’t aware of any desire from families at North to rename the school.

“In fact, I’ve heard they’re pretty proud of their name,” she said.

Now that classes are out for the summer, the property is being prepared for construction. The early stages of demolition start July 5 and likely will last until early August, according to the district’s construction manager, Steve Krause.

The new building is estimated for completion in fall 2019, with other renovations ready by spring 2020.

Funding for the project came from a $150 million bond measure passed by voters in 2016.

Edmonds-based Spee West Construction has worked on similar projects at Eisenhower Middle School, Forest View Elementary and Garfield Elementary.

A book by Everett historian Larry O’Donnell shares the many changes the Rainier Avenue campus has seen.

The first school was North Junior High School, which opened for the 1925-1926 school year. The school’s mascot wasn’t the Star, but the Redskin. It’s still the Star, a nod to the North Star.

There was a nationwide move toward junior high schools in the 1920s. During that time in Everett, elementary schools went from kindergarten to seventh grade, eighth-graders attended their own school and high schools taught four years.

North Junior High School lasted for about 45 years until the district pushed for middle schools. In 1970, the school was transitioned to George Washington Carver Middle School. The district also considered naming the school after civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Bunche and Walter Reuther, as well as astronaut Neil Armstrong.

The school was demolished in the late 1970s, making way for North Middle School, which opened in 1980. U.S. Sen. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, a former student at North Junior High, spoke at the dedication.

Joseph Thompson: 425-339-3430; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @JoeyJThomp.

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