Housed in the former home of Chapman Intermediate School, the Etowah East annex allowed Etowah High School to ease overcrowding and, for the first time in the school’s history, eliminate the waiting list for student parking permits.
Etowah High School Principal Keith Ball took school board members and district officials on a walkthrough of the newly rehabilitated “Building A” Thursday, and explained how “Building B” would open next school year.
“The B Building will give us the opportunity, for the first time since the first trailer was delivered at Etowah a long time ago, to be completely without the use of a mobile classroom during the 2014-15 school year,” Ball said during the walkthrough. “Based on our enrollment projections, we will empty out the mobile classrooms completely.”
The Etowah East annex, originally constructed in 1974, was outfitted with up-to-date technology, including 272 student computers between three labs, a 3D printer for use in the architectural design and engineering classroom and a virtual collaborative learning center with a Smart Board and a dual-screen sharing tool called a media scape.
Ball said between the four world languages offered at Etowah and the new technology in use at Etowah East, the school is ready for the future.
“We want to have future-friendly classrooms and be the most future-friendly school we can be, and with world languages and technology, that’s two of the best ways to make your school future-friendly,” Ball said.
The collaborative learning center replaced the school’s old media center and includes various areas for student collaboration and work.
Bobby Blount, assistant superintendent for accountability, technology and strategic planning, said the collaborative learning center was designed to emulate what students would see when they ventured into college or a career after high school.
Blount said the entire Etowah East annex was designed with collaboration in mind.
Another student collaboration area features rolling tables outfitted with movable white boards for student use. The white boards are designed to hang from the end of tables while not in use and can be removed and placed in different holders built into the table to allow for brainstorming activities, sectioned-off work areas and other collaboration activities.
Etowah East plays host to four Career, Technology and Agricultural Education programs, including the Air Force Junior ROTC, Architectural Design and Engineering, Computer Science and Criminal Justice rooms.
The facility also has three large computer labs, complete with connected restrooms so students don’t have to leave the area during testing, Ball explained.
Several school board members attended the walkthrough, including Board Chair Janet Read, and School Board members Kelly Marlow, Robert Wofford, Rob Usher and Rick Steiner.
Read praised the renewed building and said she appreciates it “as a parent, a board member and a taxpayer.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo said the rehabilitation of the former Chapman Intermediate School, which was Chapman Elementary School before that, cost about $600,000 to complete, using around $450,000 in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax money and about $150,000 from the district’s facilities maintenance fund.