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New High School Open House Jan. 5

Thank you, Vashon, for our new high school and your enduring commitment to education! What a wonderful gift you have given to our community.  

The building is almost finished, and students and staff will move in after the holiday break on January 6th, but before they do, I and the entire Vashon Island High School team would like to invite you to tour the building on Sunday, January 5th, from 1:00 – 4:00 pm during our Community Open House. Students will lead the tours, and knowledgeable docents will be on hand to answer questions about building highlights and features. VHS students and local musicians will perform.

For a more adventurous experience, there will be a Demolition Carnival on Thursday, January 9, from 1:45 to 4:00. Organized entirely by students, this event will benefit 15+ clubs and sports groups through a variety of unconventional activities, ranging from knocking down parts of the old building to collecting artifacts. If you’d like to ride the excavator during the actual demolition later in January, you can purchase tickets during the carnival.  

If you can’t come to either of these events, tours will be offered January and February each Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. The weekly tour schedule will also be posted in the next issue of Soundings and on

We are looking forward to celebrating this new building because we are proud of it and eager to share it with you. What makes this building so special is that it clearly reflects our community’s high regard for education and environmental sustainability. The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the building is that it connects the outdoors with the interior. Brian Carter, the architect and an island resident, calls this “porosity,” the overarching theme to the design. It creates an invigorating environment for collaborating and learning.

Large windows bring sunlight into every corner. The hallways and common area are lined with wood from the school forest that David Warren and his crew at Island Forest Stewards harvested and milled by hand. The bright classrooms are designed for flexibility to adapt to changes in education and instruction. You’ll notice that the library is somewhat smaller to reflect the trend toward digital media rather than stacks of books.  The library opens onto a grand staircase to the study commons, flexible space for groups of students to meet and study together.  

Sustainability was a major design goal, and we are pleased with the results. Some of the environmentally friendly features include rainwater harvesting and reuse, an air water heap pump heating system, operable windows for ventilation, photovoltaic panels, an automatic daylight harvesting light control system, LED lighting, extra wall and roof insulation, and a rain-water garden.

Island performers and audiences will enjoy the beautiful 264-seat theater and its spacious lobby, family friendly restrooms, great sight lines and acoustics, and backstage dressing rooms with restroom facilities. Our high school thespians are already gearing up for their first play, The Metamorphosis, showing January 31 – February 2, and February 7 – 9, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:00 p.m.  

In an emergency, the lower floor of the building can serve as a community shelter and kitchen with provisions to connect to the fire department’s emergency generator.  

This building is an investment in the future, one that will reap dividends for many years to come. Please come and celebrate with us.