When more than 900 students came for their first day of classes at the brand new Greenwood Middle School, at the top of their list of concerns was getting lost in the significantly larger building.
During a tour of the building the week before school started, more than 1,800 people and officials handed out maps, showing students what rooms were on each level, which many used to find their classrooms.
But they also were impressed with the space set aside for bigger science labs, an eight-lane track and a three-court gym, which wasn’t included in the former middle school.
The new Greenwood Middle School is 160,000 square feet and can host 1,100 students. The new $27.2 million building on Averitt Road near Freedom Park was designed with a focus on STEAM classes — which includes science, technology, engineering, art and math — and engaging students in project-based learning opportunities, such as art projects and hands-on science experiments.
Story continues below gallery
The classrooms won’t have traditional chalk or dry erase boards at the front, but rather an entire wall which is dry erasable to allow longer math equations and more test preparation questions to be written. The school has six science labs which have sinks and allow those science projects to be performed.
“Science is my favorite subject,” sixth-grade student Savannah Morris said. “I’m really excited to do cool science projects here.”
Morris said she also fears she will get lost, but knows her teachers will be there to help her if needed.
“My teacher last year told us that the middle school teachers are really nice and will make sure we aren’t lost,” she said.
During the first week of school, staff will be in the halls, ready to assist the students and guide them to where they need to go. The new building is 20,000 square feet larger than the former middle school, but each grade level is on a different floor. Because of this, students are able to get from one class to another in about a minute. At the old middle school, they could have to cross the school to get to their next class, and only had four minutes to do so.
But the added space also allowed school officials to add a separate section for band and choir rooms next to the gym so other classes aren’t interrupted by the loud noises.
Students were already impressed with the band and choir rehearsal room, with plenty of storage for instruments and places to practice, the main gym, auxiliary gym and state of the art fitness room. The main gym now has enough seating for 1,600 people, which is more than enough for students and staff to come together for an event.
“I’m excited to take gym class here,” Vivian Hoover said.
Vivian Hoover, who was a sixth-grader at the old middle school, came with her mother to tour the new building before school started, hoping to learn the ins and outs of the new building and how to navigate it.
“I’m glad I could come see the new building because it’s a lot bigger than the middle school I went to last year,” she said.
Seventh-grader Chase Bowman was excited about the new gyms and outdoor football facility. The new football field includes a running track, practice field and concession stand and is located just west of the building.
“This is like a high school,” he said. “I can’t wait to come here. I really want to play on the new football field outside.”
Here is a look at when local schools start classes:
Today: Greenwood and Edinburgh schools
Wednesday: Center Grove schools
Thursday: Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson schools
Aug. 9: Franklin schools