Students in Lake Andes are starting off 2019 in brand new classrooms. A $13 million addition is now complete after about 16 months of construction.
It’s high school teacher Erin Melson’s first year at Andes Central. Her class started out the school year in the old building, but she’s looking forward to this semester in a brand new school.
“As a teacher the biggest thing I’ve noticed is the behavior in the kids, they seem like they have so much more respect now, they almost act like they have more confidence in this building and I think it’s because they get to have this nice, new thing, they want to treat it with respect,” high school teacher, Erin Melson said.
She isn’t the only one who’s excited, students are glad to be back, too.
“It’s been going good, I only got lost twice, took a couple of wrong corners but was able to get to class on time, but it’s a nice, new facility, really enjoy it,” senior Jacob Maynard said.
About 350 students in the district are now under one roof. Before, the elementary school was only at this location, and the middle and high school were combined in a different part of town.
“We were able to separate the high school from the middle school students, we’re not on top of each other, where the other school, we were kind of compact,” middle/high school principal, Bill Hummel said.
“Moving into one facility is going to allow for some mentorship programs for our students, it allows for shared staff, it takes away from that drive time, so it’s going to help with class scheduling,” School Board President, Debbra Houseman said.
While there are many highlights, staff and students have their favorite features. For Melson, her classroom now has a breakout room.
“The English and math departments in both the middle school and high school, our rooms are connected on the outside by a breakout room, which it has a least one white board, some desks and then windows to the outside,” Melson said. “They have kind of an extra space to go where they won’t be a distraction or get distracted by other people.”
Students like Jacob Maynard and Cliff Johnson, enjoy the science rooms.
“I like how our classroom is also a lab, while back at the old school we’d have to it be part classroom and then have to walk through a door to get into the lab, but this way we can just get stuff out of the cupboards and start doing experiments,” Maynard said.
“I like the science rooms, they’re pretty nice and new, lot of new of new equipment for us to mess around with, so that’s fun,” senior Cliff Johnson said.
The new facility also includes an expanded music room, computer lab, library and art room. That’s not all.
“We wanted to make sure that we had space in both of the gyms so that we could have secondary courts in each of those areas and we were able to accomplish that, we link up to our wrestling room and to our fitness areas,” superintendent, Debera Lucas said.
Looking forward to educating students now and for generations to come.
“I’ve noticed personally in my classroom they’re more willing to work, like right away they get their work done, they participate a lot and I think all the surroundings have helped a lot with their behavior,” Melson said.
“We are hoping that a new and inviting facility will attract students to come to our district and stay in our district, but it’s also a new facility, we wanted to look into providing a safe, welcoming facility for our students and we feel like we’ve done that,” Houseman said.
There is also space for an outdoor classroom. Soon native grasses and plants will be added to the area. A fitness area has also been added that the community can even check out.