Students returning to class this winter won’t only be greeted by teacher’s faces, but a revered dinosaur named Lillian guarding the beautifully lit library of the new Drumheller Composite High School.
Sun from sky-lights filters into the huge University-esque library where Lillian, one of the Royal Tyrrell Museum’s first dinosaur models, now rests.
Describing the changes is difficult, as they have been numerous.
Upon walking into the front doors, all action seems to unfold immediately.
To the left, the administration offices sit where the library once did, to the front a naturally lit gymnasium with fully automatic bleachers welcome visiting and local athletes to play, and to the immediate right sits Lillian guarding the high ceilings and green walls of the new library– where the gym used to lay.
A weight room, with equipment sponsored by the Friends of DCHS Society, sits above the gym in front of open windows which allows light to dance onto the hardwood floors.
The cafeteria, which will feature removable tables and seats for when hungry kids aren’t ravaging their food, will sit almost immediately before the front doors.
The east wing of the school is gone (where junior high students used to learn and eat), while the west wing classrooms remained to get a face-lift.
Each room will be equipped with an interactive SmartBoard, essentially an interactive and touchable computer screen projector.
The home economics and cosmetology, and food rooms have all experienced serious upgrades and improvements. Most interestingly, the foods room will feature a venting system which traps food debris and odour on the prep table.
Doing lab demonstrations in the old DCHS required students to move from the classroom to the lab, but now the classroom has become the prep-lab.
Lab equipment is stored in between two science rooms with dividers, allowing teachers to close off the areas when not needed. This also saves on space usage.
Planning of the building has seemingly not left anything to chance, as structural plans have been made to accommodate a projected increase in student numbers.
Three more rooms may be built, if needed, above the west wall of the library, as Greentree’s large Grade 3 classes are expected to add strain to classroom resources when they come of age to enter DCHS.
A conference room has been added, and a card accessed door for the offices.
One upgrade may only be appreciated by the students and teachers who spend hours learning in class.
Each room is now equipped with their own heater system, allowing instructors to control temperature in individual rooms.
The welding program at DCHS is making its return this year with upgrades to the school shop.
Drama students and audiences in the Kaleidoscope Theatre will appreciate changes which will make both rooms soundproof.
DCHS is also aiming green with the new building, with features like motion sensors which turn off lights to save power when rooms are empty.
At this point, the school is far from complete, but the changes done are considerable– DCHS has never looked better.
The community will be invited to an open-house celebration to see for themselves, tentatively scheduled for Friday, February 11, after staff and students complete the move and get comfortable.