The Viking Voice has suffered a bit of a curse recently. We have in our past three issues made plans to write about the construction going on at the school, however, nothing has happened with the story. Everybody knows construction is happening, but we really don’t know much about it. I decided to talk to the principal, Mr. Freeman, to find out more about it, in order to break the curse.
The Orcas Island School District proposed a bond that was passed late last year to start demolition and construction of various parts of the school. “We are replacing buildings that were built in 1980 to be the high school then. And by all accounts of the people who were on the school board at that time, they were built as well as they could with the money they had—which wasn’t a lot. And they really didn’t imagine that those buildings would last for a long time. And so the buildings are far beyond their life span, and I think within the plan that was developed not only did we want to fix what we had, but also kind of re-imagine the campus in a way that made sense.” Freeman said. While personally I am glad to get new, more modern buildings (hopefully with some heat!) the construction around the campus has been—to say the least—atrocious. With large excavators blaring outside of classrooms and jackhammers, saws, hammers, what have you shaking the very building in which students are studying, is it worth it?
I don’t mean to sound like some stick up sophomore that can’t handle a little noise but, in all honesty, it is quite annoying. While it seems like the projects are wrapping up, in actuality, Freeman spoke of the long timeline. “The timeline is for the entire project to be finished is before school starts next year. So we will be finishing up with the CTE spaces in the next couple of weeks, when you come back from mid winter break. We should be moved into the new Art Room, the Wood Shop and the Applied Physics classroom. [We’ll] work on what was the middle school building has started, and that will take into the summer.” So, construction will last all year.
With the end in sight, I am excited to have renovations to the school and for construction to be over. Freeman said it best himself. “I appreciate everyone’s patience and this has been a long project and having to deal with inconveniences like clocks that don’t work and bells that are off. A cafeteria that is in the gym. And everyone—staff, student[s] and parent[s]—has dealt with that really well knowing that it is what it is and what we are getting in the end is pretty awesome.”
Here’s to hoping.