Click here for the complete article by Carol Ladwig in the September 13 Snoqualmie Valley Record, or read the excerpt below:
‘Welcome to our amazing new school:’
Community gets first look at Timber Ridge Elementary School at Sept. 8 open house
by Carol Ladwig, Snoqualmie Valley Record Editor
Sep 13, 2016 at 2:36PM
Photo credit: Carol Ladwig/Snoqualmie Valley Record
A mom and daughter were already immersed in a book together in the library
as tours of the new Timber Ridge Elementary School began Sept. 8.
"What a beautiful library!" a visitor declared as she walked through the double-doors of the Timber Ridge Elementary School library Thursday evening.
She wasn't the only one who thought so, either. Children and adults alike were already sprawled on the floor, reading from the stacks, while on the colorful bench in the center of the room, a mother and daughter were intently reading a book to each other.
At the official unveiling of the Snoqualmie Valley School District's sixth elementary school, a couple of hundred families toured the new building and marveled at the soaring library ceilings, the paleness of the wood flooring in the gymnasium, and the dendrochronology (the study of tree rings) accented spaces. As with every good party, a lot of them congregated in the kitchen, where kitchen manager Kathy Ryan had an extra sheet of fresh-baked cookies ready to serve.
Ryan, now in her 28th year of working for the district, may be one of the building's biggest fans.
As she gave an impromptu tour of the kitchen — "Look, double ovens!," — Ryan explained that in her career with the district, she started at Opstad Elementary School and worked at several schools in the district. "I then worked my way down the hill to Fall City," she said, "and I have never been in a brand-new kitchen like this."
Before the tours, school officials gave a brief presentation on the history of the project, which started not quite two years ago.
"This truly was a fast-track project," district Superintendent Joel Aune told the audience, about half of whom were standing after chairs had filled up. "We passed the bond in February, 2015. That's just 18 short months ago."
The bond was a $244 million voter-approved initiative to update all of the school buildings in the district, as well as to build the $35 million sixth elementary school and to rebuild Mount Si High School.
Of the 18 months of construction, Assistant Superintendent Ryan Stokes said seven were devoted to "moving a lot of dirt around," on the sloped site.
Aune thanked the many agencies and specific school staffers who helped to make the project happen in an accelerated timeframe. He also thanked Snoqualmie Valley Citizens for Schools, the volunteer group that led the campaign to pass the bond initiative.
"It's not just a great building, it's a great learning environment," said School Board President Geoff Doy.
Principal Amy Wright pointed out some of the innovative building designs that created the learning environment, too, such as the huge collaborative spaces at the end of each of the three hallways, color-coded to indicate the specific tree variety highlighted in each wing.
"We really envisioned a school where children are nurtured as thinkers, as learners, as people," she said.
Stokes noted that the classrooms were "flexible spaces that allow that small group work that is so important."
Stokes concluded his comments with some good news. "I'm pleased to report… that the project was delivered on budget."
Following staff comments, Aune recognized the work of the new Timber Ridge PTSA by calling on PTSA president Janelle Wickstrom. She stepped to the podium with Jennifer Kuhtz, president of the Snoqualmie Valley PTSA Council, who presented her with a certificate recognizing the new chapter.
To begin the event, Wright presented a video, narrated by Timber Ridge students, on the building. As guests began to tour the new building, they were often reminded of the final words of the video, "welcome to our amazing new school."