Like many other large schools, gets a bit chaotic between classes and at dismissal.
At the sound of the bell, students immediately flood into the hallways and weave between one another as they dart to their next destination. The scene can make a busy airport terminal or crowded shopping center seem tame in comparison.
"You're moving so slow, you're taking the smallest steps, shoulder to shoulder, with people you don't even know," said sophomore Mihal Lakhovsky, 15. "It's definitely really crowded."
In fall 2012, Redmond High will grow even larger when the (LWSD) switches its grade configuration and begins welcoming freshmen to its four high schools. But the change will also come with something that Redmond High has needed for quite some time: extra space.
Sometime in the next year-and-a-half, workers will construct a 21,912-square-foot wing near the school’s performing arts center. The addition will include 12 classrooms, and a 8,488-square-foot auxiliary gym will also be built, said LWSD spokeswoman Kathryn Reith.
Reith said the school will also re-arrange some of its other common areas, such as the cafeteria, but specific plans are still forthcoming.
Funding for the project will come from a $65.4-million levy that voters weighed in on earlier this month. The most recent vote tally shows the levy is passing by 59 percent with more than 28,000 ballots counted. Final results will not be released until Feb. 23.
The changes will boost Redmond High’s capacity from its current enrollment of 1,500 to 1,750, Reith said, but specific plans for the additions have yet to be determined. LWSD is also unsure exactly how many additional students will attend the school after the grade switch because students will have the option to attend a new science-focused choice school that will also be built with funds from the levy.
If Redmond High School ends up needing more space than the additions provide, Reith said portable classrooms will be added to the campus.
“Because there’s so many changes going on in the fall of 2012 … we don’t know how many students will opt for those kind of programs instead,” she said.
The main reason for the grade reconfiguration is academic, Reith said. Although the new addition will help ease some of the crowding at the high school, the most important benefit will be including ninth graders in the high school environment, she said.
“The ninth graders who are physically in a junior high school really have a hard time fully understanding that they are actually in high school,” Reith said. “For the purposes of their transcripts and what colleges see, they are in high school.”
Redmond High School Principal Jane Todd said she believes the grade reconfiguration will be an overall benefit to students in all grade levels. Even so, Todd said she is somewhat concerned that the added population will make it more difficult for teachers and administrators to make a personal connection with individual students.
“That is a bit worrisome to me,” she said.
As physical changes begin to happen to the high school building, Todd said the school’s teachers, administrators and students will be developing a strategy for welcoming ninth graders into the school. The school’s student leaders will likely play a big role in helping with the transition, she said.
Mihal, who participates in the school's student government program, said she is both excited and a bit nervous about the upcoming changes. Overall, however, Mihal said she thinks the grade configuration change will be a great benefit to future ninth-graders.
"They (will) just make one transition from eighth to ninth grade, and then they have the whole high school experience," she said.