More than 400 students, parents, teachers and residents had the opportunity to tour the new Niles McKinley High School, currently under construction on Dragon Drive, and to meet interim Superintendent Frank Danso Nov. 7 when the district hosted an open house at the facility.
Members of the school board were serving hot dogs at the concession stand as people were guided through the 125,000-square-foot facility.
"I really like it," said Dana Hughes, 17, and Kirsten Cvengros, 15.
Niles McKinley High School Principal Mark Lucas, left, gestures while guiding a tour of the new school building Nov. 7. The facility is expected to be completed by April.
"We needed a new school," said Hughes, a junior. "I think it's going to help us students actually want to be here."
Cvengros, a sophomore, agreed. "I feel like I'm going to get lost," she said.
Principal Mark Lucas guided some of the tours, and said the response from the community has been very positive.
"I can't wait (to get into the new building)," he said.
Some residents expressed concern about the size of the auditorium, and one student, sophomore Mackenzie Jadloski, 16, said she is afraid the halls will be too congested once they are filled with students. However, she said she likes the newness of it and is looking forward to the air conditioning, which the current school doesn't have.
One of the features of the new building is a large gym that can be separated by a retractable wall and can be opened up for bigger events, such as tournaments. It is comprised of a main gym and an auxiliary gym, and aside from the main court, also will have six side courts.
Both basketball players at the high school, Hughes and Cvengros said having the separate gyms will be a huge benefit, especially basketball.
Most of the floors will be made of rubberized tile and some ceramic tile, with carpeting throughout the school offices.
The facility is on target for its move-in date on April 1.
Architect Robert Steines, who also was guiding tours, said the facility cost around $23 million, the majority of which was funded through the Ohio Schools Facility Commission. Voters also approved a 5.3-mill bond issue in 2008 to fund construction of the new high school as well as two elementary schools.
"This is a quality project," Danso said. "It's a great compliment to the entire education community to see what they've been able to do here. I think the building is fantastic."
Residents will be invited for a second tour of the new building once it is completed next spring.