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A sneak peek

High school students tour the new Sandy High
by: Lisa K. Anderson Makena Schroder, 17, and Maddy Kenney, 16, say the new school will boast student morale.

Part-way through a tour of the new Sandy High School, Makena Schroder, a 17-year-old student leader and athlete, joked she was thinking about not graduating.

'I'm already proud,' Makena said of the new school. 'I'm excited my sisters get to go here.'

Though Makena will start a pre-med program this fall, likely at Texas Christian University, her younger classmate and fellow student leader, Maddy Kenney, 16, suggested her return as an 'honored alumna.'

Construction of the new high school is running on time, and crews are focusing on what Kelly Rowland, site superintendent from Hoffman Construction, calls 'the nitty-gritty details.'

Most of the roofing is complete, 98 percent of the building facade is placed, and as of February, the building 'went hot' with the electricity turned on.

Coming up next is construction on the gym's interior, installation of lighting fixtures and development of two more classroom wings.

As Rowland led Maddy and Makena on the tour, he likened the multilevel building layout to a village.

'At the main entrance are the administrative offices, or the government,' he said. This entrance also will feature a large, wood-panel image of Mount Hood.

To the left of administrative offices is the athletic facility with seating for 1,800, and to the right is the theater with seating for 504, complete with an orchestra pit and soon-to-be marquee.

Next come the commons, where students will gather for lunch and other meetings, and the 'spine,' which houses the library and brings together the multilevel building with a stairwell.

Finally come the three classroom wings, or 'living quarters,' with lockers, teachers' lounges and study areas outside of classrooms. Each has a theme -- water, forest and mountain.

The water wing, which houses science classrooms, already has blue floor tiling and stations for science experiments installed. It's the most developed of the three wings.

'I take it back,' Maddy and Makena said throughout the tour -- in the library, in the vocational education classrooms, in the theater and in the gym. 'This is my favorite part of the building.'

What drew the most ohs and ahs, though, was the broadcast room, where Maddy and her classmates will give on-air announcements and learn the ins-and-outs of the technology.

'We've gotta start planning for next year,' Maddy said, calling the upgrade in technology a fun challenge.

'Most kids are really excited,' Maddy added. 'A new building sets the tone for a new year and it motivates kids a bit more.'

Some of her teachers, she said, seemed even more excited than the kids.

When it opens for the 2012-13 school year, Sandy's new high school will almost double its space to 310,000 square feet and increase its student capacity to 1,600, with support space for an additional 200.

Its future honored alumnae eagerly awaits the grand opening.

'I like to pretend the old school is better, but some kids get down when they come to our school because it's so old,' Makena said. 'A new building will contribute to everyone's pride.'

While public tours won't be available until summer, the Oregon Trail School District offers a webcam view of construction on its website and posts regular updates.

The district anticipates it will move into the new building beginning in May. A grand opening is scheduled to coincide with the first week of school in early September.

For more information visit oregontrailschools.com.