Loads of laudatory words were spoken Thursday night for the official Grand Opening of Harrison Preparatory School on the Clover Park Technical College Campus in Lakewood, but LTG Bill Harrison spoke the most heartfelt comments made that evening.
Of all the many honors and recognitions Lakewood’s first mayor and former commanding officer at Fort Lewis—now JBLM—has received, “None is as important to me than this school,” Harrison said to the gathering of dignitaries, that included an assortment of Lakewood Rotarians, educators, parents and students.
“A big thanks to our voters,” said Debbie LeBeau, CPSD Superintendent.
The school’s grand opening, according to the message in the celebration’s program, “is proud to announce the completion of the new Harrison Preparatory School, which opened on Jan. 15, 2015. Funded by the voter-approved 2010 school construction bond, ground for the new facility was broken in 2013, and tonight, announced CPSD Superintendent, Debbie LeBeau, the school has “officially completed six years of qualifications to become an International Baccalaureate school. It is the first one in the state to achieve that designation,” she added.
Lynn King, executive director of the Northwest International Baccalaureate Association, presented a plaque to Principal Lisa Boyd in recognition of that achievement.
Former Lakewood Mayor Doug Richardson was among the officials adding his congratulatory remarks to those of others for the occasion.
A large full-color portrait of Gen. Harrison, which will hang in the school, was unveiled; then on the sound of the word “Puma” (the school’s mascot) a large blue ribbon was cut by Connie Coleman-Lacadie, Gen. Harrison, Carole Jacobs, Walt Kellcy, Jr., Debbie LeBeau, Doug Richardson, Dr. Marty Schafer, Bianca Vieyra, Joe Vlaming and Paul Wagemann.
Guests took advantage of tours to selected classrooms, including the library, the gym, the blue and white mosaiced restroom facilities—of which there are many throughout the building, and the Cafeteria where visitors enjoyed cake and beverages.
Thanks to Riley Chiles, who was this scribe’s personal tour guide after the ceremony. He’s a senior who will graduate in June, with plans to attend the University of Washington, and said that what he most liked about the new school was having “lots of space,” and “no asbestos!”
Although some guests lingered a while longer to chat and snap photos, about 8:25 p.m. HP Principal Lisa Boyd announced firmly over the school’s PA system that since school would resume for classes less than 12 hours later, visitors were strongly encouraged to depart.
To view more information about the school, Integrus Architects, and Forma Construction, please visit the school’s website at www.edline.net/pages/Harrison_Preparatory_School