LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. — For the first time in more than two decades, a new high school is opening up in Spokane County. Ridgeline High School had its dedication ceremony on Tuesday evening.
Two years and roughly $90 million later, construction is done. Ridgeline is ready to welcome students and staff.
"It looks like a college," community member Janet Schmidt said. "I mean, it's spectacular."
Schmidt's husband will be a math teacher there. She was stunned by the 60-acre property, she said. She was among the hundreds of community members who gathered to celebrate the opening of the Central Valley School District's newest school.
"We're all just kind of in awe on how it's turned out, and how our kids are coming on campus now and they're doing their activities and their athletics," RHS Principal Jesse Hardt said. "We're a school, and Ridgeline High School is here."
The school has been in the works for three years now. Back in 2018, the Central Valley School District passed a levy to add an additional high school. With all of the region's growth, Central Valley and University High School were both getting too crowded, Hardt said.
"My kids, one went through CV and the other through UHigh and it was packed," Schmidt added. "Bumper to bumper."
A new school reduces overcrowding at all three high schools. This is especially important for right now.
"We're more readily able to accommodate social distancing guidelines from the Health District," Hardt said.
Not just having fewer kids, but the students will be more spread out. The building is expansive, with floor-to-ceiling windows all across the campus. The planning team specifically wanted more light for students and faculty because many classrooms simply don't have many windows, he said. The lighting helps open up the space and can also benefit students' mental health, he added.
"It's long overdue," Schmidt said. "We needed it desperately."
After years of planning and construction, Ridgeline is ready to welcome its inaugural class on September 8.
Tour of the upper floor: