Seabeck Elementary: spirited, but aging

What Seabeck Elementary lacks in facilities, it makes up for with community spirit.

Unlike many Central Kitsap schools, few people move in and out of Seabeck, and families form meaningful bonds with school employees.

“We still have a community feel,” said Sandy Flatness, a third-grade teacher at Seabeck for 10 years. “A lot of the teachers live in the community, and it is a kind of old-time feeling where you know families on a first-name basis.”

However, the 1950s-era building shows its age, and many Seabeck staff members think it’s time for a serious facelift.

“It’s just old, and it’s falling apart,” said Lisa Pitcher, a Seabeck physical education teacher.

A pipe above the library burst during 2001 winter break, flooding three classrooms and part of a hallway. School employees complain of rotting walls, damp carpets and temperature-control glitches.

“Our siding is in bad condition, but in some places they are replacing it,” said Carrie Riplinger, a 15-year library clerk at Seabeck.

On some days, she added, temperatures in the library will fluctuate from 61 to 75 degrees in a day.

“How do you dress for that?” Riplinger asked.

However, staff members praised the school custodians responsible for maintaining the aging building.

“The custodians take awesome care,” Pitcher said. “Things are kept as well as they can be.”

Richard Best, director of construction, facilities and maintenance for the Central Kitsap School District, said the building is holding up as well as can be expected.

“You get different technologies when you marry the old (systems) to the new,” Best said. “It contributes to problems.”

The district has no immediate plans to replace or remodel the building, Best said. But school officials are in the process of reviewing facilities needs and priorities could shift, Best said.

Tracyton Elementary School was built in 1944, and parts of Central Kitsap High School are even older, according to Dirk Gleysteen, director of operations for the school district.

Gleysteen acknowledged that Seabeck Elementary is more vulnerable to power outages than other schools. The district recently installed a generator to combat the problem.

School was canceled earlier this semester after employees smelled smoke during a power outage. The generator worked, but one of the fan motors smoked, Gleysteen said.

Principal Chris Visserman downplayed problems with the building, and stressed the cooperative spirit of the staff. Seabeck Elementary is a focal point of the community, he said.

“It is really a place where people come together. It has to do with the remoteness,” Visserman said.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates