Kaleta and Erik Kingman-Gatz with their son Evan, a seventh-grader at Olympic Middle School, look at what the new school will look at during the recent groundbreaking. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

Kaleta and Erik Kingman-Gatz with their son Evan, a seventh-grader at Olympic Middle School, look at what the new school will look at during the recent groundbreaking. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

Ground broken for middle school

New Olympic will replace the old one

At 61 years of age, Olympic Middle School is today an old, cold, tired place.

Inside, students and teachers, staff and administrators suffer daily from badly outdated heating, ventilation and insulation systems, and outside, the lack of parking is a continual source of aggravation for everybody.

And when the rain falls, “Lake Olympic,” a body of water half the size of the school’s cafeteria, pools in the center of campus, and a waterfall splashes off the roof outside the library.

But soon, all that’ll be history.

On Tuesday, March 20, the school district broke ground on Olympic Middle School to be. At 105,000 square feet, the school will replace the current 92,000-square-foot building with a two-story, brick-faced structure wired for 21st-century technology, and with significantly more parking outside. Where the present school stands, there’ll be softball, football and baseball fields and a track.

It will have a contained courtyard for the kids and a mere two entrances compared to the dozen or so now, so that when school is in session, security can be much tighter. And with everything in one building, students won’t have to walk along breezeways to get to class.

As for parking, the new school will accommodate 250 vehicles, a significant improvement from the present 78. And when parents drop off or pick up their kids, they won’t have to do that on the street anymore.

Everything should be finished in time for the school to open in fall 2019, said Jeff Grose, executive director of capital projects for the Auburn School District.

The soon-to-be, brick-and- mortar school is a testament to the generosity of the Auburn community, which passed a $456,056,000 bond package on Nov. 8, 2016 to replace six current schools. The money will build two new elementary schools, one on the south end, the other on the north end, both serving up to 650 students.

Olympic Middle School is only the first of the projects that the bond will fund. The others are:

• Dick Scobee Elementary, built in 1954

• Pioneer Elementary, built in 1959

• Chinook Elementary, built in 1963

•Terminal Park Elementary, built in 1945,

• Lea Hill Elementary, built in 1965.

While the new middle school is rising, today’s Olympic will serve as a middle school for its students for a year. Between 2019 and 2022, it will be an interim elementary school for the other schools being replaced.

In 2019 the district will bring students over from Dick Scobee Elementary School while it is being rebuilt, in 2020 students from Pioneer Elementary, in 2021 the children from Chinook, and in 2022 students from Terminal Park.

Then the old Olympic will come down and baseball and football fields, a track and more parking will be built.

“It’s such an exciting opportunity for kids in our community to have spaces that are designed to modern standards and designed for technology” Alan Spicciati, superintendent of the Auburn School District, recently told the Auburn Reporter. “You think of the learning tools that kids have today, so many of them weren’t even thought of when schools like this were built. Part of it is a better learning environment that doesn’t take our resources to keep up and running.”

School and community leaders join parents, students and supporters at the official groundbreaking ceremony March 20 for the new Olympic Middle School. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

School and community leaders join parents, students and supporters at the official groundbreaking ceremony March 20 for the new Olympic Middle School. RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter

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