It isn’t taking long for Glenwood Community High School students and staff to warm up to their new school.
Doors to the $21.5 million facility were formally opened Thursday morning as freshmen and sophomores reported for orientation and an abbreviated schedule of classes. Students were visibly excited about stepping into their new school for the first time.
"It’s just really big. It’s probably the nicest school I’ve ever been in," said sophomore Ben Umberger.
Morgan Lucy said she was in awe over the size of the gymnasium.
"It’s very overwhelming how awesome the gym is," Lucy said. "The choir room, too, is going to be excellent."
Two veteran GCHS faculty members, industrial arts teacher Stan Winquist and English teacher Mike Schmidt, admitted they never envisioned the day they’d be working in a new state-of-the-art facility.
"It’s going to be an excellent facility," Winquist said. "The kids are really excited.
"Once everything gets in, it’s going to be one of the classiest facilities, not only in the state, but in the Midwest."
Schmidt soaked in the atmosphere of the spacious cafeteria as he worked lunch duty.
"Wow,’ Schmidt said. "I just think it’s one of the greatest things to ever happen in Glenwood.
"I have nothing negative to say. People have been getting up tight (about construction delays), but I’ve told them once you get in and see how nice it is, you’ll forget all about it."
Guidance counselor Kathleen Loeffelbein was also taken in by the school and the visible impact it’s having on students.
"I don’t know if there are words to explain it. It’s unreal," Loeffelbein said. "Did you see the faces on the kids as they were coming in this morning?"
The excitement in the air didn’t go unnoticed by Glenwood Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Stan Sibley, who was also at the school for Thursday’s opening.
"All of the sudden, instantaneously, you feel the energy," Sibley said. "It’s a school and place of learning instead of a construction zone."
Sibley said the opening of the new high school and the relocation of the middle school from the campus of the Glenwood Resource Center to the former high school building is a momentous move for the school district.
"We’ve gone from worst to first (in regard to facilities)," Sibley said. "We now have two top-level learning centers."
Although the new high school is now open, a substantial amount of work must still be carried out before the facility is complete. The auditorium, music and industrial arts classrooms are among the projects yet to be completed. Landscaping is another.