Saturday, Sept. 20 marked another milestone in the history of Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1. That afternoon the oldest school district in Pierce County officially opened its new middle school at DuPont/Northwest Landing. The intermittent drizzle that day didn’t dampen community enthusiasm, and an estimated 500 citizens attended the event.
“A community is known by the spirit of the legacy ithonors,” said Dr. Art Himmler at the afternoon dedication ceremony. The new Pioneer Middle School, he continued, demonstrates the commitment of its citizens to continuing that legacy.
Following a flag raising by Boy Scouts from Troop 71, ringing of the historic 1892 school bell and snipping of the green and gold ribbons by Pioneer’s Assistant Principal Paula Gayson, Principal Kristi Webster welcomed citizens from DuPont and Steilacoom to the event.
Beneath a green and gold balloon arch inside the school’s multi-purpose room, the District’s superintendent acknowledged the many people who’d helped get the building constructed‚Äîfrom those who worked on district bond campaigns to canvassers who distributed information about proposed capital construction bond and maintenance and operations campaigns.
School board president Al Lawrence also commended those who “had confidence in us and dreamed with us” to achieve that goal.
The building, said DuPont Mayor Tamara Jenkins “is beyond our wildest expectations,” noting that the two adjoining communities are full of “Firsts” including the new building. Steilacoom Mayor Ron Lucas echoed those sentiments, citing the efforts of past school board members Dick Muri (current Pierce County Councilman for this area), Maj. Gen. (U.S.A-ret.) John Hemphill and past school board chairman Duane Hardesty‚Äîwho got the process started. Hill International Project Manager John Boatman steered the project, while construction was done by Babbit-Neuman Construction Co. of Steilacoom.
The school, Mr. Lucas added, truly is a jewel, and “we’re happy to be a part of this partnership.”
“Work hard and get smart,” he reminded the students.
DLR Group Architect Erin Reichman welcomed the guests to this “treehouse of knowledge” (a reference to the school’s second-floor library, which was designed to resemble a treehouse), and noted that the building’s “energy efficient ‘green-ness.’
“Out of dirt and rocks,” added Dr. Himmler, “we’ve gone to this beautiful building”
Before dispersing to view classrooms, the library and view “Project Lead the Way”‚Äîa demonstration of the Intel Technology Grant to the school, Dr. Himmler reminded the spectators to take a “Piece of Eight” from the Pirate Treasure Chest.
Afternoon festivities included musical entertainment by the Steilacoom High School jazz band and Exit 118, with assistance from the SHS Key Club students on food preparation and door prizes donated by Dhane Orthodontics.
For more information about the school please phone 583-7200.