Hundreds gathered to dedicate the new Northmont High School on Sunday, a day before officially opening to students at the start of the new semester.
“We have advantages that we’ve never had,” said Northmont Superintendent Dr. Sarah Zatik.
The new facility includes upgrades to science and art rooms including gas hook ups for experiments and running water, which the previous high school did not have. The new facility was built with today’s technology in mind, with more than 102 miles of computer wiring, according to school officials.
The most important upgrade that comes with moving to the new facility is security, according to Zatik.
“All of our doors lock down and we did not have that at our past high school,” she said. “…(there are) 187 cameras inside and out to keep not only the students safe, which is our main priority, but also our facilities, assets and building.”
The planning and construction of the facility was a five-year process, Zatik said. Ohio Facilities Construction Commission funded nearly half of the $90 million project, which includes the construction of both the new high school and the Kleptz Early Learning Center that opened at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.
“It was a great help, so we are benefiting tremendously from state dollars,” Zatik said.
Suzanne Schmidt, a Northmont High School alumna and parent of a Northmont freshman, said she thinks the new building will draw more families into the district.
“I don’t see how you could walk in this school and not just be amazed and want to go here,” she said. “…(I am) just really excited for the community and all the students here.”
The community will also have access to the school’s new Thunderdome, a gymnasium that seats 2,200 and an additional 800 on the floor, once a security protocol for community members is in place.
“We’re able to get tournament games here. Rental facility for events, we have a community run/walk/jog track. Nine laps around is a mile,” Zatik said. “…it’s not just a building for our students, this is a building for our community as well.”
Students will have their first full day of school in the new facility today, though they’ve had opportunities to get to know the building ahead of time. Students ate lunch in the new cafeteria as well as ran through an abbreviated schedule in the new high school before winter break, Zatik said.
“They got it within a couple periods. They understood where they were going,” Zatik explained. “…it’s not brand new to them and I expect a very smooth transition.”