Brian Wharton

2016 File Photo — Brian Wharton is the Yelm Community Schools superintendent.

Construction projects are currently underway at Yelm High School and Lackamas Elementary. 

The high school project is an upgrade to the stadium athletic surface and Lackamas is receiving two additional classrooms. The unique aspect of these projects is that we are including student learning experiences on site. We want our students to see firsthand how their education and planning might connect to future work. It has really created some fun educational experiences for students.

At Yelm High School, students from the green technology class engaged in a learning experience with the crew installing the new stadium lights. The students learned about the technology being installed, how lasers are used to aim the lights, the environmental aspects of LED lights and also the employment opportunities in this field. The students had a really good time learning and can also watch the progress being made daily. This week, the landscape architect will be presenting to our landscape classes to show how drain fields work and how the stadium project was designed.

At Lackamas, the installation of the new classrooms created some interesting math challenges in that the buildings had to be leveled on gradually sloping ground. The foreman on the site talked about how he applies math every day at high levels and he never thought that would be the case as he progressed through school. This was all happening, coincidently, when some students were learning how to calculate the area of shapes and angles. 

We are busily working on the design of the new Yelm Middle School and Southworth Elementary. As we progress, we are actively identifying aspects of the design and construction of these two schools that can become active classroom learning opportunities. We hear all the time that the workforce is short on employees in the trades. 

We also know that our graduation work with students emphasizes having a clear plan for continued learning beyond high school.  Hopefully, our many construction projects over the next three years will inspire students to research the trades as a possible future. 

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Brian Wharton is the superintendent for Yelm Community Schools.

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