New year, new school, new building

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

On August 7, more than 1,000 Helena High School students will walk through the doors and into the beautiful arched entry way of their brand new, 220,000 square-foot school building to start the 2014-2015 academic year.

Doors of the brand new Helena High School building will open to students for the first time on Aug. 7. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

Doors of the brand new Helena High School building will open to students for the first time on Aug. 7. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

Helena High School Principal Jay Peoples gave me a tour of the new building this past week. As a city kid, I went to a small high school, the entirety of which fit on one floor of a townhouse built in the 1800s. So to say I was blown away by the size, design and facilities of the new Helena High School is an understatement.

Not only is the school architecturally beautiful, with high ceilings and hallways with large windows looking out onto a courtyard, but it is also clear that so much thought has gone into every aspect of the school. From safety features such as tornado shelters, to the classrooms each fitted with interactive projectors, to wide hallways designed to ease between-class congestion, everything is aimed at enhancing the student experience.

The media-center is not just a high-tech research room, it is also a perfect study space with tables for group work and comfy chairs for reading. The expansive auditorium has a stage and lighting for large-scale theater productions and concerts. The science classrooms are equipped with free-standing lab tables, and there is even a suite of rooms to built specially for the school’s new health sciences program.

Although school might be the last thing on many kids’ minds, I think Helena High School students have a lot to look forward to. They get to attend a brand new high school in a brand new building, built just for them with their learning needs in mind. In fact, walking through the new building almost made me want to go back to high school.