COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) — Crews are putting the finishing on the new Columbia City High School.
The 300,000 square foot building located south of Columbia City on Highway 9 will open just in time for the new school year next week.
“We’ve traded up in every single way,” Whitley County Consolidate Schools Superintendent Patricia O’Connor said. “It’s all really exciting and just really proud of our community.”
The soon-to-be-former Columbia City High School, located on Whitley Street, was built back in 1958. Over the past two decades, school officials have tried to build a new high school to replace the old one. But a referendum was not passed until 2015.
Two years later, construction started.
The total for the project was more than $92 million, with $85 million coming from the referendum and another $7.5 million coming from the redevelopment commission.
“I think it speaks volumes to this community support to education and for our youth,” O’Connor said. “Also, it’s a tremendous vote for our economic viability. It’s something that we are very proud of.”
The new high school is located next to Indian Springs Middle School and Little Turtle Elementary School.
The design of the building is similar to one you would find on a college campus.
Room sizes can be changed by moving walls that separate classrooms. Study rooms and sitting areas can be found in hallways so students can collaborate and work with each other on projects or study. The cafeteria allows students to choose from several different food options and then allows them to eat outside in a courtyard instead of staying indoors. Also outdoors is a classroom where students can sit near a water fountain and listen to lectures.
Currently, the school has space for around 1,300 students. O’Connor says the design is also flexible so that the school will be able to meet the needs as the community grows.
Also included in the new high school is the corporation’s Eagle Tech Academy. The academy offers students a way to learn offering problem base and critical thinking, oral, and written communication skills.
The high school also offers classes that allow them to learn new skills to help students get into skilled labor positions like welding and plumbing.
Along with several classrooms, the school has three gyms, a community room where the community can hold public meetings and events, a greenhouse, a virtual trophy display case, a new radio station for 91.5, and a Columbia City merchandise shop.
Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the school has had to cancel events that would allow the public to take a tour of the new school. However, students will be allowed in groups to see the new campus and learn where their new classes are before the start of the new school year on Aug. 20.
“I want (the community) to know how grateful I am that they have been patient with us to get this project done,” O’Connor said. “It’s been a big project. I know that they are very excited.”
O’Connor said she hopes to have an event in the future that will allow the community to see the school.
WANE 15 toured the new building and now you can too by watching the video below.