Submitted by North Thurston Public School

The North Thurston Public Schools Board of Directors will honor former superintendent Raj Manhas at a ribbon-cutting and naming ceremony at 6:00 p.m., July 24 at 200 Sleater-Kinney Road NE (next to North Thurston High School). The public is invited to attend the brief ceremony, followed by light refreshments. Please RSVP to

Manhas served as Superintendent of North Thurston Public Schools from 2009-2016. His passion for community engagement and systems-wide structures resulted in positive changes in the district, including a historical $175 million bond in 2014. Manhas also helped start the Compassionate Community Initiative in Lacey; recently NTPS students demonstrated their compassion by raising $27,000 for the new Lacey Food Bank.

“Raj had a huge passion for community engagement and a vision for the future of North Thurston Public Schools,” said Board President Graeme Sackrison. The School Board voted to dedicate part of the 65,000 sq. ft. building shortly before Manhas retired in 2016. It was purchased with existing capital funds in 2014 for $ 2.2 million.

Formerly a local health club, the renovated portion of the “Rajinder S. Manhas Activity Center” includes a new gym and restroom facilities (about 14,000 sq. ft.) as well as a space for furniture and equipment storage during school remodels, including North Thurston High School and Pleasant Glade Elementary.

“The Raj Manhas Activity Center is a wonderful, public facility which patrons can utilize for many activities and events. Gym facilities are in high demand in our community and we know the new space will be scheduled quickly. We are committed to promoting healthy activities for our children during and after the school day. Thanks to our strong partnership with Lacey Parks and Recreation, children participate in healthy activities year round by using school district facilities and fields. We are excited to share this new space with the community!” said Superintendent Dr. Debra Clemens. She noted that the space has saved the district significant time and money. “The extra storage space within the facility is saving the district thousands of dollars per month in storage fees and the close proximity to North Thurston High School supports its renovation. Our construction projects are under budget and on schedule for school openings.”

The front of the building has yet to be modernized; it currently houses the South Sound Reading Foundation and the district’s Homeless Assistance/McKinney-Vento program. Future permanent use of that portion of the building will be determined in part by the Facility Advisory Committee, which looks at construction needs for the growing district. If you are interested in serving on this committee please contact the District at 360-412- 4416.

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