CHESHIRE -- Droves turned out for the first official showings of the renovated Hoosac Valley Middle & High School on Thursday, admiring changes that have pushed a more than 40-year-old building into the 21st century.
In classrooms, whiteboard arrays turn into multimedia centers via "interactive projectors," and computer labs dot various wings, including one geared at enhancing the staff's technology skills. Science rooms each feature a lab, wireless Internet and motion-activated LED lighting. The project also includes green initiatives such as rainwater harvesting tanks and a soon-to-come solar array.
Adams-Cheshire Regional School District Superintendent Alfred Skrocki led the first of many tours, for parents and students, introducing the school as a "community center."
"Both towns voted overwhelmingly in favor of the project, and we wanted each community to be able to use the building inside and outside," Skrocki said. He added, "The most important aspect and our primary goal was to create a high-quality educational center. ... [Throughout the building], you'll see that technology will play a role in enhancing instruction in the classroom."
Tours spanned the entire space and detailed a metamorphosis so complete that former students have had difficulty reconciling their memories of the former Hoosac Valley with the new.
Colored tiles dot the floor paired with red pillars, and hallways branch into entirely new
"It's excellent ... better than I thought it could be," said Pete Barrow, a parent of two future students, after the tour. "My kids will be in sixth and ninth grade next year, and I'm glad they'll get the full benefit."
The school's new point man, recently hired principal Vinnie Regan, also joined in the tour. Regan's experience came working for Ashland Public Schools, and he will be joined by two assistant principals this year -- one of them former principal Henry Duval.
"I couldn't ask for a better job to step into," Regan said. "I've a brand new school and Henry here helping out. It's beneficial and makes all the difference."
Regan, whose skills at interaction and collaboration, Skrocki said, earned him the job, expressed excitement with the possibilities of the new classrooms. He anticipates helping to further acclimate staff to the new building and the technologies at their disposal. Three quarters of teachers, he said, will soon be utilizing interactive projectors during lessons every week. The interactive projector can be connected to computer, controlling what comes through the projector, and the whiteboard it displays on can in turn be used to direct the computer.
Another open house is scheduled for the general public on Saturday, Aug. 1, at 10 a.m.
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