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New high school spaces on track for fall opening

A new ag shop, a new art room and a new wood shop remain on track to wrap in plenty of time for the new school year. And the new front office of the high school isn’t far behind, scheduled to open just days into the new school year this September.

As work continues on the update to Nooksack Valley High School, principal Matt Galley says crews have put a focus on readying all the student spaces in time for an August opening and the first day of the new school year on Aug. 30. Galley says it wasn’t as important to have the front office done in late August as having all new CTE spaces ready to go. “I told the contractor that if we can’t get fully in (the new offices) before Aug. 14 to make sure the shops are done,” he says. “It gives them a buffer to make sure they are done.”

Crews are continuing demolition on site and finalizing the new student spaces. The counseling and main offices remain in temporary spaces and will move to the new space at the reimagined front entrance after Labor Day. “There is a lot of stuff stored in the hallways as we are waiting for the new spaces to open up,” Galley says. “It looks like a normal summer with all the cleaning going on.”

Galley says that the new offices will include fresh furniture, so the move from temporary spaces near the district office will involve just personal items and files, a “pretty easy move.” Galley says that while they could have had the space done in late August, he wanted the student spaces safely ready to go and didn’t want to confuse the public by making a switch in office locations midweek. “We want it to be as consistent as possible for the public for the first couple of weeks,” he says.

Even with the office space ready a few days after school starts, the new bus loop in the front of the building will be up and going from day one of the new school year. The new loop will come plainly marked and won’t be mistaken for parking. “It will be clearly marked with a clear sidewalk,” Galley says. “It will be much safer and much nicer.”

Crews are also working on constructing the new 100,000-gallon fire tank on site.

Work will continue on the kitchen and cafeteria, the final portion of the high school remodel, through December. The kitchen staff will have a temporary kitchen setup and will use the commons in front of the Performing Arts Center for additional eating space.

One area already wrapped up and open is the new fitness center. Opened on June 6, about 50 Nooksack Valley High School students showed up at 6 a.m. for the first day of workouts. Galley says the fitness center, thanks to the help of community volunteers, will open three times a day during the week in the summer. “A lot of people are willing to give their time to supervise,” Galley says. “We are proud of that space.”