Old Sehome Bites The Dust

Demolition work on the old school continues.


As construction continues, the old school is torn apart, leaving an old class mural exposed. Deconstruction is planned to finish before the next school year.

Carlos Centurion

The demolition of the old Sehome is ahead of schedule as RAM construction, the team overseeing the demolition, moves ahead with plans for the new sports fields coming in front and behind the school.

The plans for the new sehome high school did not end with the construction of the main building. The new football/track field, tennis fields and softball fields are planned to go in the areas where the old school is now, and where the temporary teachers parking lot was.

“The new football and track field will go where the temporary teacher lot was, and the tennis and softball fields will go where the main building of the old school is now,” Jahe Clark, superintendent of the site, said

Pictured is the original plans for the new Sehome. To the north are the new fields, and to the south is the new combined track and football field.

Demolishing the old school in preparation of the new fields was not an easy task, according to Clark. The asbestos found in the main building of the old school presented challenges in how to correctly demolish the old school.

“We had to wet down all the asbestos in parts of the building, and remove it systematically. For safety, we pressurized the area we disturbed the asbestos in, and all of our guys wore proper safety equipment,” Rich Strotz, site manager, said.

After wetting the asbestos, and making sure the area was safe for demolition, construction workers proceed to tear down the school systematically, and sorting pieces appropriately.

“Everything in the old school is being recycled. We are making sure to break it down, and we are going out of our way to remove things like rebar to ensure everything is recycled properly,” Clark said.

Furniture and chairs from the old school were donated to other schools or facilities such as the boys and girls club.

“Some things we couldn’t donate, like the chairs in the science hallway contaminated with asbestos. That’s why you’ll see some piles of chairs outside the building,” Strotz said. “The mural in the cafeteria was donated to the Lynden museum.”

After demolishing a building, demolition workers clear land for the new fields.

“We are moving around 2500 to 3000 yards of dirt a day,” Dustin Allison, demolition supervisor, said. “Around 62, two-trailer semi-trucks are moving dirt out of the site to landfill to make way for the fields.”

The equipment needed for this major demolition requires over 30 demolition machines. Some demolition equipment requires 1500 gallons of diesel a day.

“The hardest demolition was probably the old gymnasium,” Allison said. “The cafeteria was easy because it wasn’t near anything. It came down in 10 minutes. The gym was really hard because it was so close to the new school.”

As the demolition continues forward, principal Michelle Kuss-Cybula hopes the pass the torch of upholding the new Sehome, and its new culture, to next year’s principal Sonia Bell.

“It’s not a me thing. I want this school to be long withstanding, lasting long past my tenure. This school was created by listening to students, parents, and community members,” Kuss-Cybula said. “Next year, Ms. Bell will have to continue to do this as Sehome moves forward.”

While most of the construction and demolition will be done, Bell will inherit miscellaneous things that still need to be done.

“In the fall there will still be things to wrap up. Furniture needs, window shades, and more. Sehome is in good hands next year. [Sonia] knows the community, and will keep Sehome strong with collaboration.”