By: dgardner

Students learn all about new schools at JBLM

First day of school on JBLM
Students learn all about new schools
Two state-of-the-art facilities open for the first day of school
Northwest Guardian
September 5th, 2013
By Julie Smith

It was back to school Tuesday for military children living on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Doors opened for the first time in the 2013-14 school year at two new installation elementary schools.

Students at Carter Lake Elementary School on McChord Field and Hillside Elementary School on Lewis Main were welcomed to state-of-the-art two-story buildings that included larger classrooms with smart board instructional technology and upgraded security features throughout each school.

Construction began slightly more than a year ago on the new schools and building was completed in record time, said Lynn Wilson, administrator for business services and capital projects, Clover Park School District.

“You’ll see a very nice looking school both inside and outside,” Wilson said. “These are the types of schools our military families deserve.”

Both schools were built to the standards of Washington state sustainable schools protocols, using carpet and floor materials made from recycled goods. Lighting in every classroom is triggered by sensors that automatically turn lights on and off. The lighting system also adjusts to ambient light outside, brightening rooms when it’s darker outside and dimming them when it’s brighter outdoors.

The construction of new schools on JBLM is part of a Department of Defense project to replace schools that were rated “inadequate” as rated on condition and capacity, with Carter Lake and Hillside falling among the worst five DOD schools across the nation. In the next two years, the department will replace the four remaining JBLM elementary schools; new Greenwood and Clarkmoor schools will open in 2014 and new Beachwood and Evergreen schools are scheduled to open in 2015. ­

For parents Staff Sgt. Kyle and Catherine Rodriguez, the new Hillside school exceeded their expectations. Catherine was most grateful for the security system that will protect her son Kyle, a second-grader, and her daughter, Jessica, who is in kindergarten. Catherine was also excited about the separate spaces used for the gym and lunch room; in the old building, a multipurpose room served as both the gym and the lunch room.

“Finally, it looks like the school can accommodate all the children,” she said. “Everybody seems to have an office and a place and I’m just so happy.”

Hillside also boasts a robust computer lab with more than 30 brand new computers. Technologically focused classes are taught in lab twice a day by teacher librarian Wayne Osborn. The library is next to the computer lab, which Osborn said is a “huge step up” from the old Hillside library situated outside the school in a portable building. The new library has also incorporated over 700 e-books as part of their inventory.

“These schools were built to not only accommodate today’s technology, but to anticipate future technologies,” said Kim Prentice, Clover Park School District director of community relations.

The combined cost of the two schools totaled $64 million and Wilson said Tacoma-area contractors contributed to the construction, helping to boost the local economy. He also credited the partnership between JBLM leadership and Clover Park School District for the success of the building projects.

“We’re delighted to get these schools built,” he said. “This has been a long term goal by the district, and we really appreciate the collaboration and support we’ve received from JBLM.”

Original article via Northwest Guardian

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Tags: education / JBLM

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