Community gives input on school buildings

Design Symposium draws more than 51 people

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The Washougal School District heard from approximately 51 people about the future design of three new buildings.

A symposium was held Thursday at Jemtegaard Middle School, where community members discussed the construction of a new elementary and middle school at the current Jemtegaard site, as well as the future Excelsior High School.

LSW Architects, the firm selected to design the new schools, led the meeting.

Attendees at the symposium split into small groups and answered questions about what they felt would describe a successful process.

Some of the ideas, which were entered into a computer for each group, included having a state-of-the-art school, keeping the community informed, having a minimum impact on staff and students and leaving room for growth.

Mike Stromme, who will step in as superintendent after Dawn Tarzian’s retirement this month, assisted with the symposium.

“I’ve been out to Washougal now more times than I count,” he joked. “But that’s a good thing.”

Stromme, who currently serves as Vancouver Public Schools associate superintendent of teaching and learning, described the design and construction process of new buildings as “wonderful.”

“The beauty is that we get to imagine big for our kids, as well as future kids and teachers,” he said.

A separate meeting was held earlier the same day to gather WSD staff input. It drew approximately 38 people.

Tarzian addressed attendees at the symposium, calling her four years in Washougal, “rich and rewarding.”

“I am so looking forward to you dreaming out loud about what is going to be a reality soon,” she said.