There were lots of oohs and aahs Thursday as the Dolores School Board of Education got a personal tour of the $7 million construction at the Dolores schools.
"This will be a whole lot better healthwise," said Dolores Elementary Principal Sherri Maxwell.
Scott Klassen had just finished showing off the new vocational/agricultural classroom, which features lots of ventilation.
"There are ventilation hoods over the welding tables and a hose that can be pulled down and used as ventilation if students have to spot weld on something that won't fit on the table," Klassen said.
The science building/vocational/agricultural building is scheduled to be finished in January. The new building will be about 11,000 square feet. The old science building was about 8,000 square feet.
Board members were drawn to the large windows in the science classrooms.
"I love the windows," said Linnea Vass.
The larger windows are a big change from the previous science building, which was not structurally sound, and was windowless.
The science rooms will also have state-of-the-art stations for students, Klassen said.
"They can do their experiments, and there are exhaust systems," he said.
The five new elementary classrooms were also on the tour. The classrooms are expected to be completed in mid-September.
Board member Deanna Truelsen was most impressed with the solar tubes.
"Those are just cool," she said.
The solar tubes were added after an additional grant was awarded. They are state-of-the art and allow natural light into the rooms, but can be controlled with a switch and turned off at any time, like when, for example, a teacher is showing a movie.
The elementary school building will most likely move into the new classrooms at the end of September.
"You should check out the new solar tubes," Maxwell said.
Maxwell was also thrilled by the green lighting.
"It is super-fun to be able to see what it all looks like in actuality instead of on paper," Maxwell said.
Maxwell seemed most impressed by the drainage. In the past, her students had to wade through puddles just to get to the cafeteria, but thanks to construction work over the summer, the drainage worked well despite a heavy rain during the tour.
"We drained Lake Thurston," Klassen joked.
The remodeled locker rooms were also on the tour.
Board members were pleased with the results, and students started using the new locker rooms on the first day of school.
Funding for this project comes from three sources: $2.67 million from The Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant, $3.47 million from the school bond passed by the Dolores community, and $750,000 from district reserves.
Klassen said he was happy to show off the progress on Thursday.
"It all means a lot to me because I'm local, and my kids go to school here," he said.