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Washington students tour site of new school

Antonio Sierra

East Oregonian

Published on June 4, 2015 12:01AM

Last changed on June 4, 2015 9:28PM

Jason Terry talks about the construction of the cafeteria at the new Washington Elementary School building site as a group of fourth graders take a tour Thursday in Pendleton.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris

Jason Terry talks about the construction of the cafeteria at the new Washington Elementary School building site as a group of fourth graders take a tour Thursday in Pendleton.

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At a tour of the Washington Elementary School Thursday, officials from Kirby Nagelhout Construction Co. had students use their imagination.

Employees told students the bare wooden frame would soon be the school’s lobby, a half finished structure made of concrete bricks would be transformed into a new gym while a concrete base with a tarp over it would eventually turn into a two story structure that would contain 18 classrooms.

This exercise in projection was organized by Kirby Nagelhout and the Pendleton School District to teach Washington students about the construction process.

Coinciding construction crews’ lunch break, Washington students went on a heavily guided tour of the construction site, stopping several time for Kirby Nagelhout employees to explain glue laminated beams, scaffolding and the cement hardening process.

Plans for the tour were put in motion when staff noticed that the construction was visible from Washington’s playground, but the actual activity was obscured.

“You really couldn’t tell what’s going on,” Washington Principal Curt Thompson said.

Thompson said there are already plans for several more student tours throughout construction, which has an expected completion date of Fall 2016.

Eventually, Kirby Nagelhout will install a webcam to allow the public to keep track of the construction process.

The new school should be a significant upgrade to Washington’s current facilities.

In addition to an improved heating and cooling system, Thompson said the new school will offer more space, allowing staff to permanently retire Washington’s “gymeteria.”

Thompson didn’t know the exact age of Washington’s current building, but said some bricks on the structure date back to 1904.

With more space comes more responsibility. Due to the consolidation of Lincoln Primary School and West Hills Intermediate School, Washington is being built to accommodate 525 students, an increase from the school’s current population of 375.

Both Washington and Sherwood Heights Elementary School are getting entirely new buildings as a part of the district’s $55 million bond.

Other projects including the conversion of Hawthorne Alternative High School into the Pendleton Early Learning Center, Lincoln into the district central office and West Hills into the new alternative school and career-technical center.

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Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.



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