By Nancy Covert
Coordinating a move that involved at least four different aspects could be compared to a nightmare.
To date, though, Mark Ross, chief coordinator for the move within Steilacoom Historical School District, hadn’t suffered any loss of sleep.
The key to the move’s success, said SHS principal Jan McCrimmon as she took a break from packing, was for everyone to retain a “sense of humor” and to be flexible to make necessary adjustments in the process. School District personnel involved in the big move taking place this summer have plenty of opportunity to do just that.
While most students were eager for Summer Recess to begin on June 11, a crew of high school students, as well as former SHS students home from college, helped transport boxes of books, supplies, and more from the high school. Ross estimated that there would be “about a month’s worth of work” this summer for the moving crew.
Already underway, the move is a venture that has required hours of planning, ensuring there are enough movers, plus coordinating what goes where and when.
Moving material from several different sites was the challenge he faced. A former SHS football coach, Ross, was recruited to coordinate the multiple moves began this past spring and put into action during the last three days of the 2007-08 school year. Ross was part of the original staff that went to the high school when it opened in 1980.
A glimpse inside the coach’s moving day play book revealed these key points: taking boxes and furniture from the high school to Pioneer, where SHS administration offices were to be temporarily located; transporting material from “Old” Pioneer to “New” Pioneer at DuPont; from Saltar’s Point Elementary to DuPont, and from Chloe Clark at DuPont to Saltar’s Point.
Seems simple enough, right? Not exactly since some of that relocated material at Pioneer was scheduled to be trucked back to the high school within a week and a half’s time.
The school’s returning science, music and home and family studies teachers were to return to their new classrooms in the new addition. Renovation/modernization at the high school was expected to continue through May 2009.
At the time of this writing, Ross said that “70 percent of books and supplies already had been staged; the focus now was on the high school move.
Ross said that he was using district resources as much as possible, but also had a budget for what’s needed.
Regarding the decision about Pioneer, Ross said, “that even though the present building is not the most impressive place‚Äîthere’s a lot of pride in it. And even though it needed to be replaced, there will only be one Pioneer and it is this one (in Steilcoom).
He added that most of his feelings about the building and its role in the community are “very positive.”
Those opinions haven’t changed much since he started teaching there.
“It’s a great place in which to teach. Sure, there have been a lot of frustrations about the building, he continued, “but it’s not always the building that makes the school.”
Ross said that he’s amazed that the old school has functioned well as long as it has.
He believes, though, that the new PIO School at DuPont/Northwest Landing will be “exciting for teachers, students and the community.”
“Ask me in September how it went,” he added.
At present, few people in the community are aware of what’s underway at the high school. Glimpses of those changes are visible to motorists as they drive along Farwest Drive toward Steilacoom Blvd. More progress will become visible as summer progresses since the construction crew has stepped up its work schedule.
Work at the high school will continue through May 2009, even though students return to school on Aug. 28.
Note: PIO’s Project Manager John Boatman was handling Delivery of new furniture for the Middle School at DuPont. SHS Project Manager Rusty Pritchard is in charge of the high school project. While the original SHS bond design and construction schedule projected the renovation/remodel work was to be completed by March 2011; work was stepped up as a result of favorable assessed valuations within the district. The School Board approved an earlier procurement of the bonds to support the project, moving up the school’s completion date by at least a year. It is estimated that the acceleration of the project resulted in approximately $1.6 million in savings. Since the district will not have to pay for an additional year of construction inflation costs.