Leaky roof, unsafe water, worn carpets greet students at Skagit Co. school


    Nails stick out of the leaky roof at Evergreen Elementary in Sedro- Woolley. (KOMO News photo)

    SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. - This may be the last "first day" for a local school.

    Educators in Sedro-Woolley say they need millions to replace an elementary school that serves hundreds of kids - but voters already said "no."

    And now the school district in Skagit County is changing its approach - for a second shot at getting the needed money.

    School board President Christina Jepperson says Evergreen Elementary is not only showing signs of more than 40 years of wear and tear - it's turning into a safety hazard.

    Nails are sticking out of the leaking roof, and the pipes are so corroded that kids can't drink the water. Instead, there are coolers in the classrooms.

    The carpet is worn out, and schoolkids have to pass through classrooms to get to other rooms.

    The school was originally built for about 300 students, but more than 550 are enrolled this year.

    Educators say they may have asked voters for too much money earlier this year. The voters approved a levy, but rejected a nearly $80 million dollar bond to fix several schools.

    So now the district is paring down the request to about $45 million - just to fix Evergreen Elementary. They don't want to plan for it to fail again.

    "We don't have an answer right now," Jepperson says. "It is something we are not even considering, because if you can't drink the water in a school and you can't heat it in the winter, it's really hard to educate kids - and we have nowhere else to stick them."

    Jepperson says this doesn't solve all of their problems - but it's a start.

    She says they will eventually have to go back to voters for a capital projects levy to fix other schools.

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