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Spectrum receives a face-lift in time for fall

KINGSTON — Around North Kitsap School District, bond projects are renovating old schools, as well as building a new one. But a unique situation is allowing Spectrum Community School a few improvements of its own.

The maintenance staff at NKSD, using a small budget and various leftover supplies from projects they’ve done in the past, is giving the school — housed in the former military barracks of Kingston’s decommissioned Nike missile site — a whole new look.

What began as a small endeavor has become a source of pride for the crew, who’ve worked on as many improvements to the facility as possible before school begins, staff member Dave Flieder said.

“It started as we need to get this carpet down and paint,” Flieder said. “It went from there.”

The summer maintenance budget began at $3,000 but is now around $10,000, including a new entrance for the front of school. Other improvements involve all-new carpets, fresh coats of paint in nearly every room and new ventilation systems and cabinet work. For what’s been done, Flieder said he’s impressed with how much the staff has come together to help the aging school.

“This is one of the best team efforts I’ve seen on a project,” said Flieder, who has worked on the North Kitsap School District’s maintenance crew for nine years. “We have electricians jumping in to pick up paint brushes.”

The summer’s remodel is only Spectrum’s second renovation in the school’s 20-year history. But Spectrum principal Chris Wendelyn — who founded the school two decades ago — said he couldn’t be happier with the work that’s been done.

“Things are looking really good,” Wendelyn said. “The maintenance staff has done a wonderful job in here.”

Flieder helped establish Spectrum’s health clinic two years ago, admitting that during the process, it took him some time to get used to some of Spectrum’s more creatively dressed students.

“It helped me get over my own roadblocks,” Flieder said of some of the students who sported mohawks, purple hair and body piercings.

He said he now has a new-found respect for the students and staff who go there, and is amazed at the pride that the school has in itself. It makes improvement projects — like pulling a vintage 1937 drinking fountain out of the school and replacing it with a new one — feel all the more worthwhile, he said.

“I think the learning environment is very important,” Flieder said. “Our attitude towards the work we’ve done will hopefully flow over into their work.”

Improvements have begun to take shape at the school, with replacing the front entrance being one of the only major projects left. But even now, purple trim, fresh white walls and new carpet give the building a rejuvenated feel.

“It takes that military edge away and it feels better,” Flieder said. “I’m just really proud of how the way things look now.”

This summer’s work at the school is by no means the end of improvements for Spectrum, however. A $37.9 million new high school is planned as its next door neighbor, improvements to make Spectrum more autonomous — an aspect of which the school takes pride in — will happen in the next few years. The 2001 voter-approved bond has $600,000 set aside for a new multi-purpose room, and a wall and new front driveway will be built to separate the 160-student school from the proposed 800-student Kingston High School.

But Flieder said it all goes back to the learning environment, which will be vastly different — and hopefully more student-centered –— when school re-opens in September, he said.

“If (Spectrum) looks good, if the temperature’s good and there’s enough electrical power, then the staff can teach and not worry about the other things,” Flieder said. “Their focus can be strictly on the students and not on the environment.”

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