New Mead School Shaping Up District Buys Equipment As Workers Move To Interior

THURSDAY, DEC. 19, 1996

Behind the plywood front door of Mount Spokane High School, things are cooking.

Workers stretch miles of cable across rooms as long as a city block. Thick rolls of blue-grey carpet await nailing. Plaster board sprouts.

The $22.5 million building is still a skeleton in suspenders, waiting for the flesh of walls, heaters, furniture and people. But exterior work is done, sealing the 230,000-square foot building for winter and giving a snapshot of the school’s eventual look.

“This is going to be a a pretty amazing space,” said John Dormaier, the Mead School District’s facilities and planning director, waving into the dark, cavernous commons area.

The project remains under budget and on time. Housewarming is scheduled for June or July. The 1,200-student school will open in the fall of 1997.

But a mile away, in the school district office, memos are being written as fast as walls are built. The school district is quickly running through a $3 million pot to outfit the school for students.

The school board spent more than $1.2 million Tuesday on Mount Spokane High preparations, including new buses, furniture and sports equipment.

The school district is buying furniture primarily from a King County consortium, but is also pricing equipment through independent vendors. Among the furniture orders approved Tuesday were 1,200 student desks and 1,700 student chairs.

The bill for Mount Spokane High sports uniforms - crimson and navy - is $203,030.

Mead High also ordered $50,000 worth of new uniforms for ninth-grade teams, which will move from middle schools to high schools next year.

Mount Spokane principal Mike Dunn has also been pruning teachers’ wish lists of furniture and materials requests.

He and other administrators have found the task detail exhaustive. Do they split up a collection of French tapes at Mead High, or order a new set? Do teachers prefer desks or tables? Riddell football helmets, or the more expensive but student-preferred Shutt models?

“It’s about how you divide things up,” said superintendent Bill Mester. “It’s a detailed process.”

But administrators and school board members blushed like proud parents Monday, as they escorted Spokane school officials and state representatives through the building.

“Isn’t this fantastic?” asked board President Mary Jane Thompson.

The school is wedge-shaped, the interior carved out for a massive courtyard. Most of the classrooms face outward, toward stunning views of the Peone Prairie and Mount Spokane.

“This building could be fun,” said Spokane District 81 superintendent Gary Livingston, who requested the tour.

The school, according to architect Steve McNutt, was designed to be flexible and high-tech.

Classrooms have phone and data jacks on all four walls. Each is wired for the Internet.

Physics and chemistry classes are next door to the technology lab. The shop is outfitted with computers, robotics and plastics manufacturing equipment.

The school is also outfitted with the basics: an art lab, a greenhouse, a 500-seat theater and 1,900-seat gym.

“We’ve tried to make this an open-use school,” said assistant superintendent Al Swanson.

, DataTimes

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