Photos: Centralia School Demos

Crews from Rhine Demolition use heavy equipment to demolish a section of the old Jefferson-Lincoln Elementary School building Thursday morning in Centralia.

A busy few years of construction in the Centralia and Chehalis school districts is coming to a close in time for the next school year, with both school districts planning grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremonies for later this month. 

The Centralia School District announced that grand opening and ribbon cuttings for the new Jefferson Lincoln and Fords Prairie schools will take place Aug. 24. 

Jefferson Lincoln will get the honors first, with opening ceremonies at 10:30 a.m., followed by building tours until 12:30 p.m. at the campus at 400 W. Summa St.

Fords Prairie’s ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., with tours until 3 p.m. at the campus at 1620 Harrison Ave.

“We are very proud to finally invite our community to see their investment with their own eyes for the first time,” said Centralia Superintendent Mark Davalos in a statement. 

The new elementary schools are the first completely new school buildings built in Centralia since the 1968-1969 school year, according to the district. They were financed with a $74 million bond package that also includes a like-new rebuild of Centralia High School. Phase 1 of the high school project is scheduled to be completed before the start of the next school year. 

“It was time,” Davalos said. “Our community agreed that our old buildings were unsafe and did not support modern education needs. The support they have shown through the bond and construction process has been truly humbling.”

A few days later, on Aug. 28, the Chehalis School District will celebrate the opening of its Shaw Campus and Orin C. Smith Elementary school at 1240 Bishop Road in Chehalis. The grand opening and ribbon cutting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., followed by an open house and barbecue from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Orin C. Smith school is the second of two new schools built in Chehalis. The James W. Lintott Elementary school was officially opened last August. 


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