Sparks from a cutting torch sprinkled onto the floor.
“A year from now, this will be a classroom,” Stanwood-Camano schools Superintendent Jean Shumate said during a tour last month, pointing through a metal door frame workers were constructing at the new Stanwood High School building.
The $147.5 million project, approved by voters in 2017, is nearing the halfway point. Staff is scheduled to move in a year from now, and students expect to call the new school home in January 2021.
“We’re tracking pretty well; everything is still on schedule,” said Liz Jamieson, construction manager for the Stanwood Camano School District.
Each day lately, between 100 and 120 workers — likely the peak for the project — descend on the corner of Highway 532 and 72nd Avenue NW to help create the city’s largest building, Jamieson said.
“They are working hard to get it dry,” she said of the project that’s overseen by Cornerstone General Contractors. “Roofers are on site, glass is getting installed, masons are working. Where we have it dried in, we have drywall getting installed and they’re starting to paint.”
So far, the building has seen more than 6,400 cubic yards of concrete, more than 500 tons of steel reinforcing bar, more than 4,500 pieces of steel weighing more than 3 million pounds and more than 300 miles of wire, according to construction data.
Passersby may also notice the bright yellows and oranges of different protective and insulation layers of the walls. However, some of the 240,000 bricks are beginning to cover the exterior walls.
When finished, the building should house the district’s 1,200 high school students. However, that would put the facility at about 65 percent capacity when it opens in January 2021, allowing room for enrollment growth, officials said. If needed in the future, the building is designed to allow for additional class space to be built on the west end.
To the northwest of the new building, workers are busy erecting the new Career and Technical Education shops, including space for new classrooms, shop workspace and greenhouses.
The facility is being built next to the existing high school, which posed safety concerns to parents and school officials. The existing school was designed over a large area and has more than 80 exterior classroom doors.
The new three-story steel, brick and glass high school is designed to be more secure, with exterior doors that have access controls and one main entryway to funnel students and visitors through.
However, one of the next decisions is choosing the furniture — desks, tables, chairs — for the new schools. The public can see and test out different options at three public events to give feedback. The furniture fair takes place at the Stanwood High Commons from 3-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20; 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21; and 7 a.m. to noon, Friday, Nov. 22.
Meanwhile on the far northwest side of the high school property, the new Church Creek Campus building should be ready by summer, and students are scheduled to start there in the fall.
“It’s a completely different building, but when it’s done, the finishing look will be similar to the high school,” Jamieson said of the mostly wood-framed structure.
About 20 workers for Colacurcio Brothers are on site each day, and they are about 25% done, she said.
The Church Creek Campus will be the new home for alternative programs at Lincoln Hill High, Lincoln Academy and Saratoga School, the homeschool support program.
Across the street, the stadium now boasts a new artificial turf field, track and fieldhouse. New lights and tennis courts should be installed by spring, Jamieson said.
The bond also is paying for a new maintenance center, located next to the tennis courts, in addition to tearing down the old school and replacing it with a parking lot and an artificial turf practice field.
“It’s all coming together so fast," Shumate said. “Each time I’m up here, I’m amazed at the work they’ve accomplished.”
Take a live look at the high school construction projects with this webcam: https://app.truelook.com/?u=cs1548366359#tl_live