Sikeston High School students officially began moving into the 33,000-plus square-foot building on Thursday. Friday marked the first full day of science and math classes in the building for students in grades 10-12.
On Monday students were still taking it all in.
"It's really spacious," Landers said.
"It's not as crowded as the old building," he said.
The hallways are wider, measuring about 10 to 12-feet wide compared to the 6-foot wide halls in E Building (the previous math and science building which will be demolished).
The bathrooms are also bigger, the students noted.
"E building only had two stalls in the bathrooms," Landers said.
The new building's bathrooms have about eight stalls in them.
"And there's so many sinks. There's a sink for each mirror," Landers said. Both admitted they were a tad jealous they weren't able to utilize the facility all four years of high school.
Skylights and large windows throughout the building contribute to a brighter environment. The new air-conditioning unit is very noticeable, compared to E building's uneven heating and cooling system, Hampton said.
"It doesn't feel like the same school (when you're in this building)," Hampton said.
In April 2005 Sikeston R-6 voters passed a $4.53 million bond issue to construct the new facility, which includes 18 classrooms plus three labs in addition to a teachers work room and bathrooms. The building will also be used as a ninth grade center beginning next school year.
Currently biology, chemistry, physics and all math courses for grades 10-12 are being taught in the new building.
"The transition has gone smoothly," Senior High School Principal Tom Williams said. "The kids cooperated, and teachers worked together. The move is going well."
The students are extremely excited, Williams said.
"They were standing in awe when they first walked into the building. They were just looking around and not saying anything," Williams said.
On opening day of next school year, the ninth graders will take all of their core classes -- math, science, social studies and communication arts -- at this center and will already be on campus for their extracurricular subjects like physical education, music and art.
In addition to the ninth grade move, the current junior high facility will become the fifth and sixth grade center; the current middle school facility will become the seventh and eighth grade center; and the site of the alternative facility will be relocated from Moore Street to the current Fifth Grade Center.
Seven science teachers, seven math, two communication arts and two social studies teachers will be among faculty housed in the building next year. Each classroom averages 800 square feet.
Finishing touches, such as installing interactive whiteboards and video projectors, moving in new furniture and other small tasks, are still part of the project.
"In a couple more weeks, we should have operational labs," said Bryan Doyen, high school chemistry teacher and science department chair.
More storage, technology, proximity of labs to classrooms and the math and science departments being housed in the same building make the new environment more enjoyable for teachers, Doyen said.
"They tried to look at areas so five years down the road, the technology won't be obsolete and would still be compatible with any expansions," Doyen said about the district's designers.
Doyen, who was a member of the building's design committee, commended the board of education, administrators and designers for listening to feedback from other teachers.
As he looked around his lab, Doyen said, "It's nice to finally be here."
An open house will likely be scheduled before the beginning of next school year.