Chehalis’ Orin Smith Elementary Almost Finished


The Chehalis School District plans to move students into the new Orin Smith Elementary School building by the first of May, announced Superintendent Ed Rothlin at the school board’s regular meeting Tuesday evening.

“There’s always going to be some bugs we have to work out,” said Rothlin during the meeting. “I really would like to work those bugs out, if we can make that happen this year. This year has kind of been a mess anyway when it comes to transportation and people living in temporary housing and teaching students. Let’s start the school year next September the way we know we need to start.”

Students in the Chehalis School District were previously housed by Cascade for kindergarten and first grade, R.E. Bennett for second and third grades and Olympic for fourth and fifth grades. Now, James W. Lintott Elementary School will house kindergarten through second grade and Pre-K, while Orin C. Smith Elementary School will house grades three through five.

Students are already in the James W. Lintott building, but have yet to move into Orin Smith Elementary.

Rothlin presented the Chehalis School Board with a tentative moving schedule Tuesday evening. According to the schedule, grades three through five will only be in school 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on April 29 and 30. May 1 will be the first full day of school at Orin Smith Elementary.

“We would not be offering classes on those days,” said Brett Ellingson, principal of Orin Smith Elementary. “Parents would drop the kids off, they would come in, we would have an assembly and then we would go through some procedures. They would get to the classrooms and the teachers would go ahead and do the tour of the building. That would be their first opportunity to be in the building.”

April 30 would be a parent and student orientation day, where the parents and students are invited to the school from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The following day, May 1, would be the first full day of school at Orin Smith Elementary. While the discussion took place in a public meeting, both Rothlin and Debby Gregory, human relations and communications officer for the district, said after the meeting that this schedule is tentative. 

Chehalis School Board member Joe Clark asked if it was possible to find accommodations for parents who cannot take off work.

“We thought about doing that and we just couldn’t figure out a good plan that would work,” said Rothlin after the meeting. “So, you know, moving is just inconvenient for everyone. We are hoping that the excitement of moving into the new school, that we put up with a few inconveniences, and of course apologize to those that can’t make it, but we just could not come up with a plan that could satisfy that.”