Category Archives: Youth Wellness Campus

STORY WALK: A campus at a crossroads in East Bremerton

Photo provided by Mark Morton.

What on Earth are we going to do with the former East High School campus?

Efforts to revive the school district property, which was also home to Bremerton Junior High School, have failed to this point.

But this place has a proud history. There is also another bright side: the Bremerton Teen Center and a low-cost dental clinic are now located at the campus. There’s still talk of demolishing the 125,000 square feet of mostly rotting classrooms. Plus, in a surprising move, the State Legislature this year kicked in $1 million in improvements for the school’s revered gym.

On Tuesday at 6 p.m., we will meet inside that gym (3102 Wheaton Way) to discuss the campus’ past, present and future and we’ll tour the area. Special guests for our latest Kitsap Sun Story Walk include:

To conclude the story walk, staff from both the Bremerton Boys & Girls Club and the Lindquist Dental Clinic will be on hand to give tours of both facilities.

Hope you can join us! You may RSVP here if you like. In the meantime, I ask: what would you like to see happen at the campus?

All photos of East High School provided by Mark Morton.

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Links to previous Kitsap Sun Story Walks:

Is the Cove turning a corner? 

Storywalking history, the Roxy, and all things hoppy

Walking the new Westpark

The new Lower Wheaton Way

Washington Avenue, past and present

The meandering Madrona Forest

Redwood Rendezvous in West Bremerton

Fourth Street’s Economic Divide

PHOTOS: A peek inside the squalor of Old East High School


It’s been about seven years since kids last took their seats to learn at the old Bremerton Junior High and East High School campus off Wheaton Way. To put it plainly, the school’s in really bad shape, as we documented in a story in the Jan. 1 Kitsap Sun.

To me, it appeared to be a kind of Chernobyl, where, minus a nuclear disaster, school could still be in session, minus its years of decay.

Organizers of the Youth Wellness Campus need about $5 million to tear down 125,000 square feet of the old school, built in the 1950s. It is now routinely vandalized, broken into and even set ablaze from time to time.

Meanwhile, the other side of the property — including its storied, air hangar-like gym — is being remodeled and will be included in the new campus.

For now, here’s a look around.


The gym will remain.


As will the weight room next to the gym, those this bulldog is going to soon be painted over.


Shoulder pads from football practices years ago remain stacked in a closet.



The old boiler.

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Scenes from the courtyard.


Remember pay phones? Neither do I.

Brewfest brouhaha

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Sipping local microbrews in the storied East High gym is a good way to raise money and awareness about the Bremerton Youth Wellness Campus, says campus executive director Patricia Hennessy. 

“It will bring people here to drink beer for a great cause,” Hennessy says.

But the recent announcement of the campus’ first-ever Winter Brewfest has not been met with universal acquiescence.  And, according to some of commenters on Facebook, that is probably putting it mildly.

“I question the message they are sending,” Craig Patti wrote on my Facebook page.  “Seems counterproductive to ‘youth wellness campus.'”

Patti’s comment was among a snowball of opinions critical, mainly, of the idea of holding an event involving alcohol at the campus.

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But Hennessy defends the decision and says the event will go forward.

“We are going to stay the course,” she said.

No one under 21 will be allowed on the campus during the entire event, from 12-5 p.m. Nov. 1, she said. She hopes people will come to realize that a craft brew festival is not akin to a drunken kegger (my words, not hers).

“We’re not promoting alcoholism,” she said. “We’re doing this very responsibly.”

She noted that she has support of the Bremerton School District — which leases the land to the campus and once operated East High School and Bremerton Junior High School there — and that of the campus’ Board of Directors.

Hennessy said money raised at the event will pay for athletic scholarships for kids to use the campus, which thus far includes a Boys and Girls Club and a low-cost dental clinic. But much more is planned for the seven-acre site, to include parklike lawns, a farmer’s market and a music education center.

The campus can only have one event with alcohol per year under their insurance policy, Hennessy said, and she believes this is the one that will give the campus a boost in exposure and help “make sure we’re keeping kids in Bremerton off the streets.”

The event is $25 and 10 local breweries will be featured. Will you go, or do you share some of those same reservations as those on Facebook have?