TOLEDO, Wash. — Thin walls, mold and poor conditions inside a Lewis County high school will soon be a problem of the past.
Students in Toledo are getting a brand-new high school that will propel the district into the 21st century.
Virtual renderings give us the first look at the project the district fought for years to have built.
After four failed attempts, in November 2018 Toledo voters passed a bond approving millions in funding for a new high school.
"They’re still not quite believing it’s actually going to happen,” said Superintendent Chris Rust.
Friday, school leaders broke ground on the new high school.
"It’s going to be amazing,” said sophomore Wyatt Nef.
"I personally think it’s unimaginable,” said sophomore Greenlee Clark.
The difference will be night and day.
The current high school was built in 1974. Collapsible classroom walls are thin and far from soundproof.
"When [a teacher] wants to show a video, you can hear it throughout, like, three classrooms and if you’re taking a test you can get distracted,” said Nef.
Throughout the school, towels are wadded up under windows to stop leaks. Over the years, water stained ceiling tiles black.
"There’s so much mold in this school. It’s ruined art on the walls. It’s made kids sick,” said Clark.
In 2018, Rust told KIRO 7 some people believed the school should be condemned.
"Kids can look forward to just a healthier environment to be in,” he said.
The 70,000-square-foot school will be built in five phases.
The gym will be remodeled. Almost everything else will be demolished and rebuilt.
“The kids are really excited. We have a kiosk inside where I’ve been posting artist renderings of what it’s going to look like and it’s not uncommon for me to come up here and see people gathered around,” said Rust.
Students will get new classrooms, labs, lighting, heating and cooling and much more.
Rust said it’s exactly what Toledo students and staff deserve.
"I don’t think they fully realize how much is going to happen here in the next two years,” he said.
The district expects the project to be fully completed by August 2021.
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