by Victor Lopez
REAGAN COUNTY--It's out with old and in with the new, almost. NewsWest 9 got a guided tour Tuesday and found out, not everything inside is brand new.
The only thing left of the original building, built in 1954, is the original Reagan County Barn Owl. He's perched at the front door of the new high school as proof positive that just as traditions are meant to be kept, there's always room for advancement.
"When we formed a community bond committee, made up of people that were actually in that graduating class, when they moved into the building in 1955, one of the requests was to leave the original owl," Superintendent Marshall Harrison, said.
Everything inside of the new Reagan County High School was put in to enhance the student's experience as they learned and give them with something else as they leave.
Harrison explains, "For kids, when they walk out of Reagan County, to be very proud of what they have. And on the other side, when they walk out of here, they're walking out very academically prepared, whether it be for college or whether they go straight out into the work force or to a techninal school."
The way school administrators planned to do that was key, dating back to the design stage. With laptops being issued to students next year and a change in class schedules, Harrison tells NewsWest 9, gone are the days of zero hour or office aides. "With this type of high school setting that we're establishing in the next 2 years, a child or student may actually come to school and take two traditional type classroom periods and then go into the student commons area, which is being built now, and do online course work."
Phase 1 of construction includes new, larger classrooms, each with interactive smart boards, flat screen tv's, and a telephone. There is also a 70 seat lecture hall, to give the students a taste of college life. According to Harrison, in the regular classrooms, learning is enhanced even by their desks, "They're called sled desks. If a kid is right or left handed, he doesn't need to have a left or right handed desk."
Phase 2 will include a two story atrium, a student commons area, an arts studio and a cafeteria. Once completed, Reagan County High School will be state of the art.
"When we designed the high school, we purposely designed it with a very free flowing atmosphere. You can actually be up in the second story library that will be built, and you can look over into the cafeteria," Superintendent Harrison said.
Harrison also says this will be a different environment and the building is not your typical brick and mortor building. But from day one, the most important issue was always addressed first.
"The area most critical was our academic setting. And that's what we've addressed first is our academics. Then all that fun stuff, extracurricular, will come second," Harrison added.