October 1, 2015 – Joint Base Lewis-McChord Northwest Guradian, By Veronica Sandate Craker
Celebration includes music, campus tours
Federal, state and local representatives gathered at Beachwood Elementary School at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Sept. 22 to celebrate the new facility with an official grand opening.
The school opened on the first day of school Sept. 2, but the celebration was meant to honor the officials who helped make the new building a reality. Crews broke ground on the new facility in 2014.
The new school is 66,780 square feet and can house 450 students. Upon entering the building, students, staff and visitors can view a mural depicting the JBLM community.
More than 300 people attended the celebration which included music from students and a tour of the campus.
“We’re celebrating the determination, hard work, dedication and perseverance of our partnerships and the success of our partnerships that ultimately benefit the children and families of our nation’s Soldiers and Airmen,” said Debbie LeBeau, Clover Park School District superintendent.
Retired U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks speaks during the grand opening of Beachwood Elementary School at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Sept. 22 (Veronica Sandate Craker/ Northwest Guardian).
Former U.S. Representative Norm Dicks championed for the new facility while serving on the House Appropriations Committee. At the same time, other political leaders were looking into the schools on military facilities.
In 2006, Clover Park School District and JBLM partnered to evaluate the conditions and capacity of the elementary schools on the installation. When the study Public Schools on Military Installation Program came out, it quickly raised the awareness of failing school infrastructures on bases across the country.
At the conclusion of the study, $250 million was included in the fiscal 2011 defense appropriations bill to fix educational facilities on military bases nationwide.
“I’m very proud of this initiative and I think it’s just terrific for these young students,” Dicks said.
Dicks was a guest speaker at the Beachwood Elementary grand opening.
After the study was completed, JBLM schools Carter Lake Elementary and Hillside Elementary were the first two facilities to be constructed. Meriwether and Rainier Elementary were the third and fourth schools to receive funding from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment and Washington state’s school construction assistance program. The two schools replaced Greenwood and Clarkmoor Elementary schools.
“These schools are fantastic,” Dicks said. “I want to congratulate the architect, the contractors, and the workers. I’ve seen all five of these schools, and I’m just completely blown away by how spectacular they are.”
Construction is underway for Evergreen Elementary School, the sixth school to receive funding on JBLM. The school is expected to be completed in December 2016.
Representatives who attended the grand opening included Dicks, Dr. Marty Schafer, president Clover Park School District Board of Directors, and 10th District U.S. Rep. Denny Heck. Heck also spoke at the celebration which included a musical performance from Beachwood Elementary students.
“These children deserve this school,” Heck said. “They deserve to walk into a world class school like this one every single time.”
The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.