The essential historical names Loowit, Wy’east and Oneonta will help establish a sense of place inside Hood River County’s first new school project in 40 years.

Local photographers provided the images that will greet students and visitors, and define the instructional areas in the new building.
 
“So many fantastic pictures to choose from. In the end, images were selected based not only on the aesthetic quality but also on how the image fit in the overall architectural design of the building,” said Principal Kelly Beard.
 
Last fall, the Hood River County School District invited photographers to enter mountain, waterfall and Gorge photos to be used as large interior murals in the new May Street building, set for opening in September 2019.
 
The design of the new school is centered on classrooms grouped around common shared spaces, called neighborhoods.
 
The entries to the neighborhoods are to have a photographic image that reflects the neighborhood name, providing each grade with a sense of place and strong identity, Beard said.
 
He said building a school for the community that invites the community to be a part of the building process has been a pleasure.
 
There are six neighborhoods, one for each grade, plus the main office and specialized learning spaces. Each of these seven spaces has been named to reflect the geography and landscape surrounding Hood River, with traditional Native American place names.
 
The artistic expression was up to the photographer in how the beauty or sense of place is capture, according to Beard, who shepherded the project.
 
The photos will be placed as follows:
 
Level 1: Mountains
 
Kindergarten “Wy’east” — photo of Mt. Hood
 
First grade “Loowit” — photo of Mt. St. Helens
 
Second grade “Klickitat” – photo of Mt. Adams
 
Level 2: Waterfalls
 
Third grade — Oneonta Falls
 
Fourth grade  — Celilo Falls
 
Fifth grade — Tamanawas Falls
 
Specialized learning spaces — Columbia River Gorge
 
“These entries will be highly visible throughout the building and are a primary design element as well as a way-finding element for students and visitors,” Beard said.
 
Photos will be fused onto rigid wall protection sheets, providing a long-term, durable art installation for the school. They will be reproduced as a monotone image — black and white with a blue tone overlay, to provide a consistent look throughout the building.”

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