The completion of Sumas Elementary isn't the only major capital project milestone happening around the start of the 2022-23 school year. Final upgrades to Nooksack Valley High School and continued upgrades at the district office plan to wrap up capital projects across the district in 2022.
"We can confidently say that when these projects are completed, our district's capital needs will be taken care of and we can focus on maintenance and getting a full life out of these, like we did the old middle school and Sumas Elementary buildings," says Matt Galley, superintendent.
The key work wrapping up—apart from the obvious opening of Sumas Elementary—occurs at the high school. During the most recent bond campaign, additional money was set aside after the needs were met at the three elementary schools to upgrade portions of the high school, including some that hadn't been renovated since the building was first constructed. Key projects there, all opening around the start of the school year, include:
• The remodel of the restrooms and hallway in the 100 wing. One of the last remaining pieces of original construction, these restrooms were a hazard and unusable by the end of the school year in spring 2022. The construction offered a full demolition and remodel of this area.
• Upgrades to the concession stand and restrooms at Sid Lambert Field. Students and the community will get their first taste of the upgrades when the Nooksack Valley High School football team hosts its opening game of the season on Friday, Sept. 2. "A theme throughout is pride in what we have," Galley says, "and it is hard to take pride in old, run down facilities."
• A Performing Arts Center upgrade includes new carpet, new concrete finish, paint, curtains and acoustic wall tiles. "Our drama and music programs have been strong over the years and that facility gets tremendous use," Galley says. "Pride is generated when our facilities are in top shape."
• A new multi-purpose rubberized floor in the auxiliary gym will benefit the school's physical education classes and sports programs.
The final scope of the project includes a remodel of the 200 wing at the high school. This space allows for a self-contained district office and is the final piece of the district's projects following completion of needed work at all five school buildings.
"The nicest thing is our students and our staff have really nice facilities and we will have those for a long time," Galley says. "These projects take a lot of time and effort in a small district, so it will be really great to have the ability to spend the majority of my time on teaching and learning and growing leadership practice across the district while spending time in buildings that are completed instead of buildings that are under construction."