By Jesse Utz 

When a dream becomes real

Jess Shut Up


It seems that ever since the Grand Coulee Tigers and the Coulee Dam Beavers turned into the Lake Roosevelt Raiders, a new school has been a dream. So right around 50 years of school boards, superintendents, students, teachers and parents have been talking, dreaming and trying to find a way to accomplish this dream as we watched every school in our surrounding area and in our sports leagues build a new school while we were just stuck dreaming.

I had the honor to go on a tour Friday, with a small group of school staff from all three schools, of the new school. It is still in construction, but as we walked through the future halls of the next generation and as teachers saw their future classrooms, a reality set in. A dream is fading away, not because of giving up hope but because we did not. As Superintendent Carlson and Miss Lakin strolled us through the concrete, steel girders and drywall, a sense of pride was already growing on the faces of not only them but the future staff as well. Staff that includes alumni. Alumni that sat in the hallways in the old school and ate their lunches. The same alumni that saw buildings very hot and very cold. The very same alumni that listened to criticism time and time again referring to our old buildings. Future alumni will not have those same memories.

Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

There will be not one but two cafeterias. There will be a real staff room. A real Life Skills room will be there. All staff under one roof. Multiple libraries, computer labs, offices and Special Services. Oh, and the classrooms will be large and with windows allowing the sunshine in. This is going to be AWESOME. As Dr. Carlson spoke and described every room, you could not only see the pride in his eyes but the vision coming to fruition, a vision being seen as a solid, living thing.

We have talked in the past that things need to change, that we need to look to the future. Well this is going to be a major change, and I believe this is the starting point for a new beginning for our school district and hopefully our communities. There will be no more division in our schools. We will all be Raiders in one location.

One more bonus: the school’s student numbers are starting to grow already and we are not even there yet. A new generation is coming that can go to school every day and be proud. Not only will a new school pride be born but safety in a secure building. The results of those two things will result in better education, more success in sports and when the time comes to hire new staff, people will actually want to come and teach here. But It would be wrong of me to say that the work is done and we just have to sit back and watch. We must get involved, more now than ever.

photos of Grand Coulee Dam Area people and places

The work is not done yet. There is still the issue of the sporting complex. Although all the groundwork is in place, the funding is not. There are institutions out there willing to assist in this area, but that alone will not get the job done. Money is a sensitive subject, I know, but we are talking about future generations; we must think of it as an insurance policy for them. There will also be a need for more parent involvement, more volunteers and more support. Support for teachers and staff. Support for the school board, support for citizens and most importantly support for our children and their educational experience. We can finish this, Coulee.

To wrap this up, it was an emotional tour for me. On more than one occasion I thought of my classmates whom I went to school with and how they would react to seeing this dream fading away to being a real thing. Some of them will not ever walk these halls but they will be here in spirit.

There will be new memories made, new friendships bonded and new successes and failures felt right here in these walls. To the future generations — well, you are getting something the rest of us dreamed of. Take care of it, embrace it, love it and succeed with it.

WOW! Look out world! Here come the Raiders!


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