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#happylife: Take a look inside Spokane's biggest, newest elementary school

SPOKANE, Wash. - The first day of school for kids at Linwood Elementary School was overwhelming for a different reason.

“Wow it's so big,” said sixth grader Hannah Morlin.

Fifth grader Joshua Milette added, “It's too big!”

It was a good problem to have, given the stress of first days past, cramming into classrooms and feeling squished walking through hallways.

We had really outgrown the building with student enrollment," said Principal Gina Naccarato-Keele.

Space was so limited that the gym, the auditorium and the lunchroom were all the same space. They playfully called it the “gym-cafetorium.”

“If we had gym after lunch, the floors would be all sticky from food and our shoes would be all sticky from running on them,” said Milette.

Perhaps no one has been a better witness to the changing needs of the school than it's next door neighbor, Karen Slusser.

My older kids went here went from second grade all the way through sixth grade.  Now my grandchildren are going here. My grandson is in third grade here this year," Slusser said.

Different is the only way she can describe the needs of the community from 1972 to now.

It was kind of like a country school because we are in the county. And so it was just one school here, said Slusser

Change was needed, change was welcome, but the Linwood community all wanted one thing to stay the same, or at least move with them:  their courtyard. It was a place where they had picnics and enjoyed performances.

“When we sit outside we'd get to see our friends from other classes that we might not have been able to see at recess because they might have been doing mentors or anything like that,” Morlin said. 

They got their wish and now every single classroom in the building has a window that looks out onto the courtyard.

“Now that I look at it, it's a total upgrade and it's great,” said Morlin.



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