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'Exploring science' on OHS campus
The newness of Orland High School's science and media center was obvious Wednesday when it was opened to public tours for the first time.
Many rooms are not yet occupied, and only some of the shelves in the library are filled, but that did not detract students, staff and community members' enthusiasm about the project.
The Orland Area Chamber of Commerce held a a ribbon cutting outside the main entrance to the two-story building at of Shasta and Third streets.
Orland Unified School District Board President Ben Kraemer cut the ribbon and said it was an honor for everyone involved.
Principal Jeff Scheele said everyone at the school is really excited about the 20,000-square-foot structure.
"Not only can Orland High School boast of its excellent academic and sports programs," Scheele said. "It can also boast about having the best facility in Glenn County."
Some classes already were in the upstairs classrooms Wednesday and Scheele said everyone should be in by May 7 after state STAR tests are completed.
Chamber of Commerce President Helen Duree indicated the new building will help attract businesses to town.
Most companies want an excellent school system, she said, and the building should be of interest to them along with the other school district facilities that have been built.
It also should make Orland students more "employable in the market place," Duree said, since it has updated computers, science equipment and other amenities.
"This says very loudly and very clearly the good citizens are serious and very supportive of student success," said Glenn County Superintendent of Schools Tracey Quarne. "This truly is a most wonderful community for children to learn and grow."
Interim Orland police Chief J.C. Tolle also stopped by to check out the facility.
"It is very impressive," Tolle said. "It almost makes you want to go back to high school."
One lady touring the building asked if she could come back even though she is an adult now.
"This is the direct result of the very giving community we live in. We hope to be good stewards of the money they've invested in the educational process," Orland Unified board member Larry Donnelley said.
Kraemer added the building would not have happened without public support, and he hopes the community appreciates it as much as the district does.
The $5 million facility was paid for with $2.5 million in Measure K school construction bond money approved by district voters in 2008. The other half of the funds came from state grants and hardship money to pay for small district building projects.
It includes science labs, computer labs, the new library and media center and home economics rooms complete with brand new stoves, kitchens and a washer.
Students in the library expressed appreciation for the building.
"It is very nice," senior Jesus Llamas said. "Everything is upgraded, nicer and more up-to-date."
The building also does not have bugs like the old portables that sat on the site previously, Llamas added.
"It is really nice. We are not used to this. It feels good," junior Lorena Guerrero said.
"This just gives the school and students a new atmosphere," sophomore Jocelynh Thitphaneth said. "It motivates us to work harder and be rewarded with different activities."
Thitphaneth said she already has a chemistry class upstairs and it is fun to attend it.
"This is a delightful place," library clerk Sandi Donnelley said. "We are excited to be here and it's an exciting place to be. The kids are enjoying it and are respectful of the new facility."
A similar building is going up at C.K. Price Middle School and should be completed by the fall, district officials said.
Contact Rick Longley at 934-6800 or email@example.com.