If Monday’s turnout is any indication, North Creek High certainly knows how to throw a party.
Community members packed the new Northshore School District facility, scheduled to open in 2017, for a ribbon cutting and open house on Monday, Nov. 21. District officials set up 700 chairs in the commons area, thinking there was no way they’d run out of space on a school night in November.
For the ribbon cutting ceremony, an estimated crowd of more than 1,000 onlookers jammed into the cafeteria. Hundreds more wandered the open hallways and lit athletic fields, while anxious parents sat in a traffic snarl two miles down Maltby Road.
The parking lots were so full, attendants turned drivers away and the district ran a shuttle bus from nearby Fernwood Elementary.
“I think it certainly speaks to the excitement that exists around this school,” said former superintendent Larry Francois, who led the district through the bond measure and design phase of the new high school. “People have watched it going up for the last two years, and I think they’re excited and interested to see what it looks like and what’s inside this place. I’m happy that there’s a lot of positive interest.”
Principal Eric McDowell stood with a handful of local dignitaries — several local leaders were still stuck in traffic — and cut a massive purple ribbon while parents and future students stretched to capture the moment for Facebook and Instagram updates.
Afterward, Assistant Principal Joseph Robertson waited in the back of the cafeteria to lead a tour in Spanish while McDowell cut pieces of the ribbon for bystanders with a pair of oversized scissors.
Visitors streamed into the brightly-lit gymnasium, the performing arts facilities and the dance studio. Classrooms, work areas, locker rooms, the empty library, the engineering department — it was all open.
The district is hoping the ribbon cutting and open house will help registration, which takes place next week, to go more smoothly once new parents have had a chance to see the new facility for themselves.
Registration, geared for current 8th- and 9th-graders, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 29.