New Bellevue High School opens its doors | Photos

The brick entryway in the newly-built Bellevue High School towers over the old building, which was constructed in 1948.  - Gabrielle Nomura, THE BELLEVUE REPORTER
The brick entryway in the newly-built Bellevue High School towers over the old building, which was constructed in 1948.
— image credit: Gabrielle Nomura, THE BELLEVUE REPORTER

Bellevue High School students used to look out the window and see a parking lot. Now, they look out at picturesque Meydenbauer Bay.

It’s only one impressive feature at the 196,000 square-foot, $92 million facility, which, after two years of construction, finally opened its doors for operations Monday.

Parts of the old school are being demolished, while other sections are being kept and repurposed. For example, the old cafeteria has now been converted into a weight room and locker room area.

Students and teachers said goodbye to the old school before mid-winter break, said Bellevue principal Scott Powers.

“We had a little celebration as part of our transition, marching the kids through the hallways one last time,” Powers said.

Plans for renovating Bellevue High have been in the works since 2006, when the district identified that the school needed a new performing arts center.

But that’s not all it needed.

Most of the classrooms were smaller than the standard 1,000 square feet in most schools, and some classrooms didn’t even have windows.

Bellevue High School was originally built in 1948, and much of the school’s interior data connections weren’t viable for the computer and technology-heavy classes that are taught today, said Jack McLeod, district facilities director.

So in 2008, parents and staff recommended demolishing the old school and constructing a new one.

The project, started in 2010, will be complete by this fall, when the last of the school’s features, the performing arts center and gym, are finished.

With students remaining on site, it can be a challenge to do construction, McLeod said. And because the contractor had to work around the students’ schedule, sometimes a building doesn’t come together as quickly, and can be more costly.

Safety is also a big concern, McLeod said.

The school community has had to compromise in some ways, such as walking in fenced pathways amid the construction zone, and having 200 fewer parking spots.

But the new building is worth it.

With spacious hallways, students no longer have to walk shoulder-to-shoulder, or walk outside through a courtyard to get to their classes.

Natural light pours in through the expansive, double-paned windows, which save on the school’s energy bill.

The handsome architecture, high-ceilings and modern design are pleasing to the eye.

“When you create a space this nice, it speaks a lot about the community and how it values kids,” Powers said.

Gabrielle Nomura can be reached at 425-453-4270.

The newly-constructed Bellevue High School features views of Meydenbaur Bay from some of its classrooms – a real improvement from the old views of the school's parking lot. Gabrielle Nomura, Bellevue Reporter

Meghan Nyquist, a Bellevue High School senior, works in the art room Wednesday afternoon, at the new Bellevue High School. Gabrielle Nomura, Bellevue Reporter

Mason Timm, an 11th grader, reads in the library of the newly-constructed Bellevue High School on Wednesday morning. Gabrielle Nomura, Bellevue Reporter


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