Bellevue students start school year at new campuses | New Enatai, Odle buildings open

Hundreds of Bellevue School District students started school Sept. 1 at new campuses.

Hundreds of Bellevue School District students started school Sept. 1 at new campuses.

Thursday, Sept. 1 marked the first official day of use for the new Enatai Elementary and Odle Middle school campuses.

Over the last two years, Odle students have occupied the older Ringdall campus while construction has been underway. This week, they moved to the new 160,000-square-foot campus designed with more classrooms to accommodate the city’s growing population and reduce the student-to-teacher ratio.

The design of the $43 million building on 143rd Avenue Northeast was based around natural light and flexibility. Odle will have two new fields visible from the many new windows peppering the flexible learning spaces and 10 STEM classrooms. It will also have a multi-story gym as well as science, art and other creative spaces spread through the school.

The new two-story Enatai campus doubles the square footage of the previous building. The $30 million campus boasts an open entrance area leading to the arts room, music room and new STEM lab, while each classroom wing also has at least 120 square feet of communal area with a white board wall.

“I think we all still walk around a bit in awe. It’s inspiring,” Enatai Principal Amy MacDonald said. “[The common spaces] will offer us the opportunity to build a community in grade levels and between.”

As part of Enatai’s redesign, the city required the school’s entrance be moved to Southeast 25th Street. The new entrance will be better able to serve bus and carpool traffic than the old entrance on Southeast 23rd Street.

While the campus has been completely revamped, Enatai students will see a familiar site — the magnolia tree that has inhabited the ground since the old school was constructed in 1953. Crews couldn’t bear to remove it, so they allocated a corner of the new synthetic turf field for the tree, Kyle McLeod, construction project manager, said.

Grand opening ceremonies will be held for both campuses later this month. Communities members can attend the ribbon-cutting ceremonies at Odle on Sept. 8 and Enatai on Sept. 13.

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