Forks High School students will be attending class in new high school addition classrooms following their winter break.
Quillayute Valley School District Superintendent Diana Reaume and construction manager Kasey Wyatt provided an update on the final phases of work on the construction project at the Wednesday, Dec. 14 meeting of the Forks Chamber of Commerce. They said the school project is on schedule for the post-winter break opening, though some work on the project will continue into the new year.
School district voters in 2009 approved at $11.5 million bond issue to fund the construction, which was matched with $8.8 in state Department of Education funds.
Reaume said the new high school addition will bring the school’s facilities into the 21st century.
Wyatt, who said she has worked on school construction projects all over the state, said the Forks community has been especially supportive of the project.
Reaume said with the assistance of the Soroptimist of the Olympic Rain Forest club of Forks, the school is selling 623 paver bricks that will be installed at the entrance to the new addition. Funds raised will go back to support student programs, she said.
Details discussed included the new school buildings having 50 percent of their lighting provided naturally, which was a stipulation of receiving some $8 million in state funding support for the construction. Reaume said the high amount of state funding for the project was due to the high number of Insight School of Washington online school students enrolled in the Quillayute Valley School District. “This won’t happen again,” she said, as the Legislature is at work in changing how online students are accounted for in determining student counts.
The new classrooms will be about 900 square feet in size, “large and adaptable,” she said, with advanced classroom technology built in, such as data boards.
The new athletic locker room located adjacent to Spartan Gym will have its game lines completed over spring break, Reaume said, and is replacing the changing room known as “the dungeon” in the old circa 1925 performing arts center, which has been demolished.
Instruction in the new vocational-technology building will focus on training in composites work and welding, with industries in Port Angeles and elsewhere in need of workers in those fields, she said.
At the entrance to the new school addition will be what’s known at Heritage Hall, with displays of school artifacts divided into decades beginning with the 1920s when the high school was first opened.
Sections of the facade of the 1925 brick Forks High School building are being worked into the interior side of the school entrance.
A sizable grant from Apple Computer is helping to fund a video broadcasting system and a computer lab where students will learn digital multimedia technologies is a part of the new addition.
The Forks High School biomass boiler is ready to heat the school, and will be fueled with wood and provide heat for the 40,000-square-foot high school plus about half of the Forks Middle School, Reaume said.
On the Web: Go to www.forks.wednet.edu/ for updates on the school construction project and biomass boiler. Click on the Capital Projects tab.