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New buildings and new tech welcome Washington students back to school

SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - Many students across Puget Sound are starting off a new school year in a new space.

“Personally it’s amazing, it’s crazy,” student Parker Wutherich said.

Because the brand new Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie Valley feels more like a college campus.

“All of our system is integrated, whether it’s the cameras or the fire alarm,” Assistant Superintendent of Snoqualmie Valley School District Ryan Stokes said.

Most of the furniture is on wheels so they can use them in different spots, and some can morph from tables to chairs.

There is an abundance of outside seating, wide-open spaces and stairs that extend to stadium seating. The school has also upgraded its security.

“We don’t know what education will look like in 20 years, so we want to make sure the rooms can adjust,” Stokes said.

Nearly 1,800 students will be coming to the school this year, and over time that number is expected to increase. The new space comes with a lot of modern technology, including all classrooms that have LCD screens so teachers and students can interact more quickly and efficiently.

"It validates the community support for the students for this school district, great schools make great communities, great communities make great schools so I think the students feel respect from the community and it elevates the pride in themselves," Superintendent Rob Manahan said.

After several failed attempts to get a bond passed, the district finally got the green light from voters to build the 356,000 square foot building in 2015.

“We were bursting at the seams, now we have some room to grow,” Manahan said.

Other districts this year are also welcoming their kids with more space.

The Puyallup School District is opening four new elementary schools to meet the growing student population.

Lake Washington School District also captured the construction of Timberline Middle School in Redmond in a time-lapse from start to finish.

In Kitsap County, hundreds of students are also getting used to a new world at Central Kitsap High School.

Students at Mount Si High can relate.

“I am excited to get to work and see what this school holds for us,” Wutherich said.

Snoqualmie School District says in the last 10 years they’ve seen a 31% increase in their student population. That’s an increase of about 1,700 students, which is significant for a smaller school district.

At the third largest school district in the state, Lake Washington schools saw an increase of 6,218 students in over a decade. That is a 26% increase.

Central Kitsap School District says the rebuilding of Central Kitsap High is not so much because of growth but a deteriorating building. That district has seen a 3% increase in its population since 2013.

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