Demolition of old Kittitas High School

Peighton Bortle, Staff Reporter

A pile of bricks and rubble marks where the old Kittitas High School building used to stand

Many locals took the time to drive by and see it before it was gone. Others are taking items from the school for memory’s sake. 

President of the Kittitas School Board Mike Lowe is a former student, and his family has a special tie to the school. His wife and two sons also attend there.

“It is a little sad to see it go,” Lowe said. “But I’ve gotten to go inside of it and see… the roof leaked and different things, so we had some issues that made it not very appealing to be inside of.” 

The demolition project coordinator Sena Burchak believes the community’s strong connection to the old building is one of the first things she noticed since the project started.

“A lot of people I know are like ‘Oh, I can’t believe that old high school’s going down, I’m gonna miss it,” Burchak said. “At the end of the day, it was the community. They wanted this and showed the support to pass this bond, so a lot of people are happy with the progress that’s being made and are excited to see what’s coming in the near future.” 

With the community support and outreach, the demolition’s progress has gone great, and many locals got to keep pieces of it. 

Old items from the school were made available in a surplus sale for the community last year. Pieces, such as colorful lockers and old blocks from the building, were bought. 

Lowe believes the  old building’s demolition and the new additions to the intermediate school will  provide a fresh and improved space for the community to use. 

The high school’s demolition was needed because it was used as a run-down storage building for nearly a decade, with broken windows, leaky roofs and asbestos.

The entirety of the project includes demolishing the old building, re-roofing the Jim Johnson Gymnasium, building a new addition onto the intermediate school that would replace the primary school, then tearing down the old primary school.

A new transportation and maintenance facility on the campus is also to come. 

“The kids will all be in the same building, so that’ll be nice,” Lowe says. “Security will be a lot better because everybody will be in one building, and we’ll have modern cameras and security systems in place.” 

While the demolition is still underway as a 14-month project, the community is ultimately looking forward to what’s next. 

“For the most part, people were pretty understanding,” Burchak said. “I don’t think we had anybody that objected against it. They knew it was for the best.” 

Project coordinators consider letting the students and staff paint the all-white secure-entry vestibule built in the front and turning it into a fun, community-oriented art project.