Chimacum Elementary opens new library

Carmen Jaramillo
cjaramillo@ptleader.com
Posted 1/8/20

The renovation and consolidation of Chimacum Schools wrapped up at year-end with the opening of the new Chimacum Elementary School Library.

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Chimacum Elementary opens new library

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The renovation and consolidation of Chimacum Schools wrapped up at year-end with the opening of the new Chimacum Elementary School Library.

Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, Chimacum Schools have been reconsolidating their students and space, moving third through fifth graders out of the 35,000 square foot elementary school built in 1948, to newer and smaller spaces. Now instead of having an elementary, middle and high schools in different parts of the same campus, grades three through six are housed in what was the old middle school building and seventh through twelfth grade are housed in the high school, now known as the junior/senior high school.

This was in response to dropping enrollment, which created the need to consolidate the faculty, students and resources. In the 2018-2019 school year, the district had an average of 805 full-time enrolled students, down from 1,033 in 2014-2015.

The library is the last piece of a renovation project to both the elementary school and the junior/senior high school that added non-gendered single stall bathrooms, new flooring, an outdoor storage space, new windows, offices, electrical, HVAC, renovated classroom spaces and health rooms.

All told, the 15 capital projects cost $1.85 million and were funded by the voter-approved Capital Facilities and Technology levy. The library renovation itself cost about $480,000.

The new library opened to students and classes Dec. 9 and is located in what used to be the middle school commons room, where students would have breakfast and lunch.

The room was cut in half by a dividing wall, with one half remaining the commons and the other being transformed into the new library.

The space is lit with lots of windows, high ceilings and natural lighting, which Michele Moriarty, the Chimacum K-12 library media specialist said was missing in the old library.

Although the physical space of the new library is much smaller than the old, Moriarty said the collection for elementary students has stayed the same size since now it does not include the seventh and eighth grade books.

The design allows for open space for free and flexible movement for students. The space will feature more portable options for electronics like iPads and Chromebooks versus stationary computers and the tables and chairs can be reconfigured in many ways to facilitate different types of learning and events.

Assistant superintendent Art Clarke said elementary staff have also been holding meetings in the space and the district wants to open it up to community events as well.

Moriarty said the space was designed to have a modern children’ aesthetic with bright blocks of color and soft furniture.

What used to be the middle school student government store room has been repurposed for the book processing room.

The library features windows that look outside as well as high interior facing windows to bring in natural light from the commons space without creating a distraction for students.

The room is also sound dampened to protect from the noise of the lunch room next door and classes as they walk by.

Three places on the main campus now hold single-stall bathrooms. Instead of having two separate rooms for male and female bathrooms stalls, the existing bathrooms were gutted and turned into a single hallway with fully enclosed single stalls with the sink to wash hands outside the bathroom.

The consolidation and renovation have increased student safety at the school as well, Clarke said, by eliminating outdoor walkways, shortening the distance between teaching spaces and adding security cameras, doors that lock from both sides and interior locking doors.

The renovations also saw the installation of a covered outdoor teaching space next to the Chimacum High School greenhouse that was funded and built by the East Jefferson Rotary Club.

Rotary President Paul Wynkoop said the project was initiated in fall 2018 after hearing of the desire of Chimacum instructors to have a teaching space within the garden setting.

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