What’s new at Bothell High?

Sporting a blue shirt with the BHS insignia, Bothell High School Principal Bob Stewart sits at his desk amidst papers and books in a cramped portable on campus. Bob knows it’s short term and, come November, will move into new digs. Not only will Bob, Co-Principal Heather Miller and the administrative staff move, but also 1,650 students are in for a big treat. How big?

Sporting a blue shirt with the BHS insignia, Bothell High School Principal Bob Stewart sits at his desk amidst papers and books in a cramped portable on campus. Bob knows it’s short term and, come November, will move into new digs. Not only will Bob, Co-Principal Heather Miller and the administrative staff move, but also 1,650 students are in for a big treat. How big?

As you enter the two-story, new Bothell High building still under construction, you’ll be greeted with an extensive library directly to the right, with adjoining student computer lab. Business education and marketing, English and social studies will be taught in this building along with visual arts, with its own enclosed, outdoor covered area including two kilns for preparing art projects. The 83,800-square-foot building borders a central courtyard where students can sit on benches around four rain gardens, dine at picnic tables or mingle with friends … all under the watchful eye of Principal Stewart, whose new office faces the courtyard!

Across the courtyard is the cafeteria, which also joins the new student culinary arts kitchen containing modern appliances and six large stoves. The math, science and technology buildings are already in place and in use, as is the brightly lit new gym and professional-quality performing-arts center. Despite the three-phase high-school construction plan, Bob credits the brick veneer continuity of each building to a vision of consistency from master planner, Dykeman Architects.

The campus has a community college atmosphere, geared toward state-of-the-art learning tools for the students, comfort and ease of movement.

I vividly recall walking briskly from one end of the “old” campus to the other during parent orientation night, with the occasional stop to talk to a friend in passing … as any student would do! The logistics alone, made a timely arrival at the next classroom a challenge. The new design offers shorter “travel” distances.

Bob knows the construction crew well and with hard hat in place, bounds up and down unfinished stairs (there will also be an elevator) proudly showing the natural light beaming from the windows of the 18, second-floor classrooms. He already knows which subjects will be taught in which room, as he’s been much involved with the planning and construction from Day 1. He takes a moment to open a door leading to an original walkway calling down to the students, “Hi! Have a good weekend!”

Bob admits, too, the campus construction site has caused some inconveniences for students and staff, with his biggest lament, “Seniors will never see the new plan.”

He adds, “Our office people are in temporary quarters with files stored off campus, teachers share classrooms and student parking is limited.”

But, according to Bob, the Bothell High School of the ’50s had a worn-out infrastructure, poor ventilation and air circulation. As our schools have a 30- to 50-year life span, it was Bothell High’s turn for an extreme makeover.

“It’s fun being a part of a remodel project this big,” says Bob.

Note the school’s new address: 9830 N.E. 180th St., Bothell, WA 98011. A surprise awaits when you see the location of the new entrance.

Experience this Bothell miracle for yourself and join the staff and students at the new Bothell High School grand-opening celebration scheduled for Nov. 19. You won’t recognize the place.

Suzanne G. Beyer is a Bothell resident.

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