The countdown is on for Sioux City students, and their parents. The start of the school year is about two weeks away.
Students at two elementary schools have reason to be excited for summer break to be over. They'll be in a brand new school.
"The building was designed as a billboard, and it is very noticeable," architect Matthew Basye or FEH Associates told visitors Monday.
It's also familiar on the outside, following the same blueprint as the other new schools in the district.
With Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman leading the way Monday, parents, students, and school board members took their very first look inside.
"It's wonderful," said Jean Lawrence, a former Emerson Elementary teacher who visited with her grandchildren that will attend school at Spalding.
"The rooms are really big," thought 4th Grader Elly Lyman.
Beyond the books, Spalding Park Elementary is nothing like the turn of the century schools it's replacing, Joy and Longfellow.
"The library's bigger than our whole school," exclaimed Bella Bradstreet.
The building will hold 600 students on two floors. Each grade has its own wing, and they're color coded, to make navigating the hallways easy for the littlest learners.
"The classrooms are big, wonderful gym, and the library is great," said Lawrence.
"They have the most state of the art equipment in them, be it physical education, music," explained Basye.
"Being a music teacher I'm a little partial to the fact that there's a huge music room," said Jill Lyman who teaches at West Middle and also has two students at the new elementary school.
The music room looks just like any other music room. You've got your scales and your stands, and even a smart board. On the other side of this wall, is the gym, and these doors can actually lift up, and it becomes a stage.
There are smart boards in every classroom, computer room, and the library.
"The district is really interested in technology and keeping up with technological advances," Basye pointed out
"With this school we can meet 21st century standards with a 21st century building," said School Board Director John Myers.
However, it's a 20th century innovation that has both the kids and adults most excited.
"It's air conditioning," said Bella Bradstreet.
"Air Conditioning," repeated Ivy Peterson when asked about her favorite part of the building.
Not only did their old classrooms not have air conditioning, some of them didn't even have windows.
"I love Joy, the character of the old school, but it was always so incredibly hot," said Lyman.
"Our old elementaries are just brick ovens," admitted School Board President Doug Batcheller
"You're not going to get to go home early this time because now you have air conditioning," Gausman told a group of students, referring to times this past school year when school was let out early in building without air because of the heat.
It'sjust another way Sioux City schools are keeping learning cool.
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