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Woodland prepares state-of-the-art high school campus

New building has room to accommodate more students, expansion in future

By , Columbian Education Reporter
Published:
8 Photos
Beaver Stadium at the new Woodland High School features artificial turf and 1,600 seats. That's twice as many as the old stadium. Football practice begins Aug. 19.
Beaver Stadium at the new Woodland High School features artificial turf and 1,600 seats. That's twice as many as the old stadium. Football practice begins Aug. 19. Photo Gallery

• Project: New high school, sports fields, football grandstand and parking.

• Public grand opening: 6 p.m. Aug. 31.

• Address: 1500 Dike Access Road, Woodland.

• Site: 41 acres.

• Building: 154,000 square feet.

• Athletic fields: Football field with artificial turf and 1,600-seat stadium, plus baseball and softball fields.

• Cost: $43 million.

• Builder: Skanska USA (also built Crestline Elementary, Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School).

• Funding: $52.8 million bond approved by voters in 2012.

• First day of school: Sept. 9.

• On the Web: woodlandschools.org/whs

When Woodland High School students enter their new school on Sept. 9, they will find multiple, welcoming places to gather both indoors and outdoors. In their old school, students congregated on the hallway floor by their lockers.

That’s just one of the differences highlighted during a Friday morning tour of the new Woodland High School led by Woodland Public Schools Superintendent Michael Green and Principal John Shoup.

The old school hadn’t kept pace with the growth in Woodland. Sixty years ago when the old school was built, there were 350 students. With the current enrollment at about 650, the school was far beyond capacity and was ringed with multiple portable classrooms. The new school has classroom capacity for 900 students — and the site has space to build another wing, which would expand capacity to 1,200 students.

Cost-saving features

To keep the project under budget, the district used high quality, but not high-end, finishes, said Green.

• Project: New high school, sports fields, football grandstand and parking.

• Public grand opening: 6 p.m. Aug. 31.

• Address: 1500 Dike Access Road, Woodland.

• Site: 41 acres.

• Building: 154,000 square feet.

• Athletic fields: Football field with artificial turf and 1,600-seat stadium, plus baseball and softball fields.

• Cost: $43 million.

• Builder: Skanska USA (also built Crestline Elementary, Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School).

• Funding: $52.8 million bond approved by voters in 2012.

• First day of school: Sept. 9.

&#8226; On the Web: <a href="http://www.woodlandschools.org/whs">woodlandschools.org/whs</a>

“Our intent was to spend the money in classrooms where it benefits the kids most,” he said.

The building’s exterior is concrete rather than more expensive red brick. The polished concrete floors are durable, will be easy to maintain and don’t have to be waxed.

“The floors will last a lifetime,” Green said.

Rather than being covered with acoustical tile, high ceilings are open to the HVAC system, and the exposed deck above deadens sound.

“We tried to bring the outdoors in wherever we could,” Green said as he pointed out the library’s large windows and high ceiling with exposed wood beams above the duct work.

State-of-the-art

State-of-the-art technology is found throughout. Classrooms have integrated white boards, projectors and microphones for teachers.

Instead of wasting space on a computer lab, the library has portable Chromebook charging stations with integrated Wi-Fi hot spots that can be wheeled into any classroom.

Overhead lighting is engineered to allow for more light by the interior wall and less light by the large windows in each classroom.

The old school had five science teachers, but only two science labs. The new school has six science labs, and each is equipped with interactive white boards and about a dozen lab sinks.

Students of the arts will find plenty to love about their new school. In the music room, the teacher will be able to flip a switch to make a digital recording and immediately play it back so students can hear how they sound.

A green room with dressing rooms and a wall of makeup mirrors will allow theater students to put on costumes and makeup while listening to the theater production and awaiting their cue to enter the stage, which is up a short staircase.

The school has three art classrooms, including a 3-D art room with a kiln for firing pottery.

Beyond a shop classroom is an enormous multi-purpose shop equipped for welding, metal work, wood working, engine repair and lifts to allow students to repair cars and boats.

Security

With many portables and multiple exterior doors, the old school was more difficult to secure in an emergency. In the new school, administrators will be able to lock down all exterior doors in the school quickly and even remotely.

The new school has limited exterior doors. After the school day begins, the only open exterior door will filter everyone through the office.

Previously, teachers had to open the door and step into the hallway to lock the door in an emergency. Now all classroom doors can be locked with a key from inside the classroom.

Although the old school had no place for students to hang out, many gathering spaces were built into the school. An outdoor courtyard can be accessed from several points in the school. It’s protected by a metal fence and locked gate.

The old cafeteria didn’t have space to feed all the students at one time, and the school had an open campus so students could buy lunch off campus. Now the larger cafeteria allows the entire school to eat lunch together, and the campus will be closed.

Students will be able to grab a quick salad or sandwich from the student store and can eat in a light-filled nook with round tables, high stools and half-a-dozen upholstered chairs.

Athletics

Spaces for athletics include a main gym with twice as many bleacher seats as the old school. A second gym will allow multiple simultaneous practices as well as community use. In that gym, net batting cages drop down from the ceiling.

Student athletes have been working out in the weight room since mid-July.

“We’re focusing on lifetime fitness,” Green said as he walked through a P.E. room set up with stationary bikes for a spin class.

The new Beaver football field includes a covered stadium with 1,600 seats — twice as many as the previous stadium.

The district saved so much money on construction that it splurged on artificial turf for the new Beaver football field. The board of directors attached a caveat: The school would need to raise money to eventually replace the turf. Boosters sold bricks engraved with donor names.

In another cost-saving measure, Athletic Director Paul Huddleston was laying the bricks himself Friday.

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