Alumni take in remodel of former Sequim High School
Sequim High alums Loxie Gradillas, left, (class of 1964) and Terri Lillquist (1962) marvel at the remodel work that has turned the city’s original high school into administrative offices during an open house Saturday. -- Photo by Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News
By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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“We spent a lot over the stove right here,” Gradillas said as she picked her teenage self out of a picture in Lillquist’s vintage yearbook.
“I have a lot of good memories from this room.”
Once spread across the district, offices for school district administration are now consolidated inside the city’s once-forgotten 93-year-old high school at 503 N. Sequim Ave.
Alumni memories filled the remodeled office space as the district unveiled a remodel spearheaded by students in a special building trades class Saturday afternoon.
“This place was just packed with old stuff, waiting to fall down,” said Christian Velarde, a Sequim High senior and member of instructor Riley Stites’ building trades class.
“It feels good to see it all remodeled and looking new,” Velarde said. “I’ll know all my life that I helped do this.”
The high school building was first built in 1920 and added on to in 1932.
It was used as a middle school after the district built its current high school nearby in 1968. Middle school classes were moved out in the 1980s.
The renovation work left in some of the old while making the school anew, with original chalkboards left set in the walls.
“I love that they left these old chalkboards here,” said Don Brueckner, a 1965 Sequim High grad.
Most of the work has been done by students.
Since 2007, Stites and volunteer contractors have led students from the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center in the renovation during the afternoon periods.
Students earn credits for algebra and career training education while installing new windows, hanging drywall and learning finishing carpentry work while they remodel rooms inside. The practical application of those fractions is more rewarding than regular courses, some students said.
“We do math that makes sense. Math that we’re actually going to use,” senior Sean Lyckman said.
Stites said he’s turned the students loose to get the work done with skills they learn as they go.
“They’re really invested in making everything just perfect,” Stites said. “And even if they make mistakes, that’s another chance for them to learn a skill.”
They were introduced to the class through mistakes.
“The first thing Mr. Stites did was hand me a hammer and tell me to put a hole in the wall,” Lyckman said.
Then he showed them how to fix the hole.
“Which is great to know for when I put a hole in the wall at home,” Lyckman said.
Beaming as they showed off their work, Lyckman and Velarde took special pride in having remodeled an old second-story classroom into an office for Superintendent Kelly Shea, taking note of a dividing wall they built to turn a former single classroom into separate offices for Shea and his assistant Marilyn Walsh.
“They did a great job,” Shea said. “And I really like having them just down the hall. I get so lost in reports and administrative work, they’re really the students who I have contact with the most.”
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: October 20. 2013 6:02PM