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Wall receives mixed reviews

KINGSTON — You either love it or you hate it.

The plywood wall separating Spectrum Community School from the road to the planned Kingston High School has spurred various reactions from students and staff at the North Kitsap School District alternative school.

“People here view it as a good thing,” said Spectrum Office Manager Sandy Brese. “Or they hate it totally.”

Opinions aside, there will be some changes to the wall, which now covers the entire western perimeter of the school. A 16-foot opening will be created on the northern portion of the structure near Spectrum’s music portable, school officials said. Another opening will be created on the southern side to allow access to the school’s front entrance. Currently, the wall seals off the entire western face of Spectrum.

“I don’t like it at all,” said Amanda Williams, a Spectrum senior. “Since I’ve been here the school’s felt free — but I feel now it’s like being in prison.”

For Williams, there is no other solution aside from complete removal, safety dangers or not.

“I want it taken down,” she said. “No one wants to see a wall. You can’t even see the trees now.”

There are other students, however, who see the wall as an opportunity — and a necessary safety device.

“It doesn’t really bother me — it’s just really plain,” said Justin Andis, also a senior at the school. “I think we could decorate it and give it potential. Have some of the more artistic students put some artistic graffiti on it.”

Andis said he thinks the wall is needed for student and staff safety.

“We’re going to have a whole bunch of trucks going by,” he said, “and the wall definitely stops kids from going out in the road.”

The wall was installed in late August as an attempt to curb noise and keep Spectrum’s staff and students safe from the logging and construction of planned Kingston High School.

After it was erected, the six-foot wall drew criticism from Spectrum staff as it blocked all view of the exterior road and making it difficult for them to supervise beyond it. Parking has also been an issue; all cars must park in a small lot behind the school and emergency vehicles can no longer access Spectrum’s main west front entrance.

The Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office also got involved, and fire officials met with the school district to devise a plan to mitigate safety concerns. As a result, 16 feet at the northern end will be taken down and a portion of the south end will also be removed or a door will be put in its place.

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