There is an upcoming bond in April which will restore Enumclaw High School with a new gym and related facilities, a new auditorium and new classrooms, and it will also replace Black Diamond Elementary, a school with 40 percent of its students in portables.
Do we need this? Let’s take a look back in time.
In 1960, students attending EHS were bustling about the hallways, trying to make the best they could of trying circumstances. With activity options on the rise, clubs, sports, theater productions, dances and academic studies shared space. Students overlapped time and otherwise crammed their passions into whatever corners were able and available. The time had come to create a facility to better meet the widening interests of the student body.
After a successful bond passage, in 1961 EHS moved into the current facility at 226 Semanski. Student life truly flourished in the new environment created by a community that cared for its students. Room to move and room to grow defined the newly-energized life at EHS.
In 2015, students attending EHS are busier than ever with a multitude of opportunities well beyond the imagination of the 1961 building plan. In particular, the athletic facilities at EHS are a glaring example of the struggle with space and time. Over the last 50 years our schools have offered significantly more boys sports programs and in 1972 Title IX mandated female students be granted the athletic opportunities males enjoyed. Girls sanctioned sports were introduced and the facilities created in 1961 did not contemplate this new demand.
Now, much like the conditions of 1960, there is restricted space and crammed quarters causing safety issues and limiting the passions of the student body. Our kids deserve better. As one example, multiple levels of boys and girls basketball teams, two wrestling squads, cheer, dance, Special Olympics, judo and gymnastics gathered in substandard space at all hours of the day and into the night for practice and events.
Space is semi-private at best and distractions and interruptions are commonplace. Subsequently, the objectives of these groups face unfortunate compromises. Shower rooms, locker rooms and storage rooms are divided and subdivided. Gym space is minimal.
As a member of an athletic league and a WIAA district, Enumclaw is unable to host postseason tournaments because facilities do not meet the minimum standards required. How does that impact the spirit of our sports teams? Concerns over gym entry and exit, movement of fans, concessions, seating arrangements, floor space and locker rooms quickly dismiss Enumclaw as a viable site. The newer venues of our member schools take up the responsibilities as tournament host, sport after sport, season after season. Why can’t we host championship games in our hometown? We should and must have facilities honoring our students and their right to flourish.
In 2015, we can offer Enumclaw High School and our community the same desired relief granted in 1961. Our students can again find that much needed room to move and room to grow. Now is the time. Please vote “yes.” Go Hornets!
Tim Tubbs is a retired Enumclaw High teacher, coach and athletic director.