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Mission Elementary Ready For First Day

The revitalized campus stays true to its historic roots after being renovated with new technology and energy-efficiency in mind.

What was old is new again.

Mission Elementary School, which can trace its roots back to 1854, is ready for the 21st Century.

Phase I of a revitaliztion project to re-open the school for students will make its official debut Wednesday morning, and Loma Linda Patch got an early tour from Principal Tim Hoch, who was excited to show off his new campus.

"It's coming along quickly now," Hoch said during our visit Tuesday. "The furniture is all in, the teachers are here getting their rooms ready -- and they don't have to be here until Monday."

The first phase of the project was built in the campus' Heisner building, the newest structure on the campus. It has been used for numerous purposes in the past, including for orthopedic handicapped classes, a county continuation school and an adult education center.

The structure has been overhauled to include nine classrooms, which will house around 225 students, all of whom will be transferred from Bryn Mawr Elementary. All but one teacher on the campus also transferred from Bryn Mawr.

Moving the students from Bryn Mawr will allow the school to end its year-round schedule.

Besides the nine classrooms, the building houses the administrative offices, a computer lab, a temporary cafeteria, a large teacher work room, as well as several smaller work rooms set between classrooms. When Phase II is done, the cafeteria will move and the space will be used for two more classrooms, Hoch said.

Classrooms have been outfitted with the latest technology. Hoch said the school will be one of the first in the state to use the ultra-short throw projectors that are mounted above the white boards.

The projectors have a built-in wi-fi connection that will allow teachers to transmit lessons to the board from across the room, and will even allow students share pictures from their wireless devices. It also has smart board technology that allows teachers to write their lessons on the screen from 50 feet away, while students will be outfitted with response clickers for various lessons.

But technology wasn't the only thing the school was built with in mind. The grounds are surrounded by native plants that will be watered by an underground drip system, lowering water costs. Only the student play field will require watering.

And all of the rooms are equipped with motion sensors that will turn off lights when the room is not in use. The smaller work rooms also have solar tube skylights, which provide enough light on sunny days that extra lights aren't necessary.

Many of the school's teachers have already been into their rooms to start setting up. Hoch said they had just taken possession of the school in the last week, and crews were still finishing up striping of the parking lots early this week.

Because work was coming down to the last days -- "like 'Extreme Makeover,' it always comes right down to the end," Hoch said -- officials opted to forego official tours before school opens.

But the campus will be open Monday and Tuesday for parents and students to pick up a campus map, see where their classrooms are and get a look at the school. And after Wednesday's minimum day of classes, it will be back-to-school night, for parents to meet the teachers.

And Hoch hopes that the parents and students will come with the same enthusiasm he has for the new campus.

"I'm not being impartial, but when all is said and done, this going to be a great gateway into Loma Linda," he said. "It's awesome to be part of a new chapter for this school."

Katrisha Curts January 31, 2013 at 03:17 AM
Wow! I went to this school in the 80's! I am lost in Athens Alabama now and I am 38 years old. My name is Katrisha Curts and my best friends name was Erika Murphy, I sure do miss those days!

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