New turn on old SHS building draws praise

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Sequim Gazette staff

A smile or a grimace? Don Brueckner looked toward the small office that was once home to the Sequim High School principal.


“Spent a lot of time in there,” he joked.


Now he can go back with a grin.


Brueckner and fellow Sequim High alums welcomed classmates, curent students and the curious to an open house celebrating the renovation of the former high school and junior high Saturday.


In 2007, students in Riley Stites’ Building Trades class at the North Olympic Peninsula Skill Center joined forces with the district maintenance staff and began remodeling the structure one room per year.


“The work isn’t done,” Sequim schools superintendent Kelly Shea said, but noted what’s been completed is impressive. The goal was to retain the building but refubish inside to house administration offices.


“When you drive by, this building stands out,” Shea said.


On display was an exhibit of historical schoolhouses along with class photos going back to the 1940s and 1950s, drawing much attention from alums who sought out their own photo and those of classmates.


Doug McInnes, poring over a set of student photos from the class of 1968, noted, “I have three nephews in that class.”


Built in 1920, the building has seen several phases, from high school to middle school to a home for the Peninsula Cultural Arts Center and Sequim Natural History Museum, predecessors to the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.


“I went to junior high school here,” Shelli Robb Kahler, executive director of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, said.
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