Lakewood — The community is invited to celebrate the grand opening of two new elementary schools at Joint Base Lewis-McChord at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 16.
Carter Lake and Hillside elementary schools are the first two schools in the nation to be completed as a result of the Military Child Education Initiative funded by the Department of Defense. The schools also received funding from Washington state's school construction assistance program.
Wednesday's celebration of both schools, which opened this year, takes place at Carter Lake. It's located at McChord Field. The event will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony and self-guided tours of Carter Lake. The event ends at 7 p.m.
Special guests include former Congressman Norm Dicks, Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, commanding general, I Corps; Joint Base Commander Col. Charles Hodges Jr. and Col. David Kumashiro, commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing.
The celebration will be at 3420 Lincoln Boulevard at McChord Field. Parking is limited and carpooling is encouraged. Visitor passes may be obtained at the McChord visitor center, exit 125 from Interstate 5. (Obtaining a pass may take longer on busy days, so plan accordingly).
In 2006, the Clover Park School District, which operates the on-base schools, began a partnership with Lewis-McChord to evaluate conditions of the six elementary schools on base. The study raised awareness of failing school infrastructures on military bases across the country and prompted Congress to appropriate money to fix many of them.
Carter Lake has a capacity of 500 students and Hillside accommodates 650, and each is built with sustainability and energy efficiency in mind. Three other Lewis-McChord schools -- Clarkmoor, Greenwood and Beachwood -- received funding as well. Construction of Clarkmoor and Greenwood is underway, and groundbreaking for Beachwood is scheduled for June 2014.