Back To School: Kennewick HS students share their favorite spots on the new campus
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Kennewick High School (KeHS) has completed a major renovation just in time for the new school year to start. Students are excited to return to a new campus and have shared their new favorite locations.
Angel Machado is the current Associated Student Body (ASB) President. He’s most excited for the new commons area and courtyard.
“This year, I’m excited for all the students to come back, and to get activities going,” Machado says. “Hopefully we get to have a homecoming. [Just] get together and do things that we haven’t done in the last three years.”
Kennewick High’s new commons area includes a huge cafeteria with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the new courtyard. There’s even a garage door that will open up and let students in and out easily.
The courtyard is in the center of the new campus with astroturf and access to ground-level classrooms. Old landmarks of the new campus have been brought in, and the Tree of Life stands in one corner.
ASB Publicity Manager Boone Prock is most excited about the new weight rooms and gym areas.
The new weight room sits on the edge of campus with a garage door that opens up to the future soccer field. The floors are lined with 1-inch thick rubber pads so students can easily drop weights without damaging the floor.
Another new feature of the renovated campus is access to the gyms. Instead of moving between buildings to reach the gym, students can walk through covered hallways.
Another ASB Publicity Manager named Cruz Garcia is excited for everything to be in one place.
“We don’t have the need for so many portables, back then we had to use other portables, other gyms,” Garcia said. “Now we have all that stuff in one area. So every new class we have has their own space. Every class that didn’t have their space now has their space.
The new campus is meant to mimic a college campus. Students will be able to stay on campus much later, with plenty of flex spaces and conference rooms for students to check out and continue studying.
“When you’re in a school, you tend to work better,” Garcia said.
Perhaps the most surprising feature of campus? There’s no library. Instead, there’s a Media Center with a small selection of books available for students to read.
“Over time, the idea is we’re going to shift into going full digital,” Garcia stated. “We’re trying to make this room be timeless, so twenty—fifty years from now when books do get shifted out, and we go all-digital, we can have this room stay relevant.”
Another amenity added to the school is a set of new computer labs decked out with orange iMacs. Study spaces with large tables, sinks, overhead projectors, and whiteboards were also introduced. A 3-D printing and engineering lab, giant commons areas in between classrooms that span both floors, and lots of USB, Type-C, and normal outlets have been added throughout the school.
But even with all this change, Kennewick High School is still keeping its landmarks. Pride Rock is next to the gym entrance. Memorials and statues are located around the school. Plaques, including one from the Class of 1909, welcomes visitors and students at the front entrance of the school.
Even the original gym floors are staying. While students will no longer play basketball on them, they’ll line the staircases, tables, and chairs for future generations to see.
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