No doubt, school days make lasting memories. School days in a construction zone, even more so. Someday students of the Eastmont School District will come to appreciate that, and look back fondly on their days in the dust. Certainly they will appreciate the state-of-the-art facilities that resulted.
The last year of Eastmont’s three-year construction tumult begins with the start of classes Wednesday. The students actually don’t spend days in the dust, just near it, and will be learning all the day thanks to the great logistical chess game played expertly by the school district’s planners.
This is an enormous, $75 million remodeling project, with complications to match. Last year, Grant Elementary students were displaced as their building was thoroughly redone. This year, they are back, with fifth-graders who would have moved to middle school, and every other district elementary school has an added contingent of fifth-graders as well. Remodeling is nearly finished at Sterling Middle School, but most of its sixth- and all its seventh-graders have moved over to Clovis Point Middle School. Meanwhile, Sterling Middle School is temporarily renamed Eastmont North, because it will host classes for the high school’s 1,300 students, at least when they are not in science, physical education or vocational classes in the new wing at Eastmont South. That’s the “old” high school. Then there is Portable Village, temporary classrooms in between. Lunch is at Eastmont North.
Nearly every student in the district is affected. Many are inconvenienced. But, money is saved, construction accelerated, and the end result will be well worth it. There have been few complaints, said Mark Marney, director of secondary education, who sounds absolutely ebullient. There was some mention that the air conditioning was weak for Wildcat Day registration last week. There are spots “where it’s a little warm,” Marney said. “But they know at the end of the tunnel, there will be light, and it’s a good deal.” Big events soon: First home football game in the remodeled Wildcat Stadium, Friday, vs. Davis. In the remodeled gym, Sept. 11, volleyball vs. Wenatchee. You can find a link to a park and walking path map at the district construction website, construction.eastmont206.org.
The Eastmont School District is to be praised for thoughtful and patient planning in what must be a logistical nightmare, while the voters of the district should be praised for passing the $30 million bond issue that led to this enormous effort. They will get more than their money’s worth, and make some good memories along the way.
This is the opinion of The Wenatchee World and its Editorial Board: Publisher Rufus Woods, Editor Cal FitzSimmons and Editorial Page Editor Tracy Warner.