Aloha High School students give massive remodeling project, new classrooms, a big Thumbs-Up

When students returned to Aloha High School two weeks ago, their excitement was palpable. There were lots of shocked expressions and 'big eyes' taking in their remodeled digs.

'There's just a sense of newness, freshness and space,' said Principal Vicki Lukich, noting that with a few finishing touches, a major renovation of the 36-year-old high school is complete.

What almost 2,000 students saw when they returned Sept. 5 was a remodeled facility that includes a new kitchen and cafeteria, a remodeled commons area and 18 new classrooms in a spacious and naturally illuminated new south wing.

In turn, the staff received new staff and conference rooms.

Also, three math classrooms have been transformed into two science labs.

'We should be using them by next week for sure,' said Lukich.

Nice place

Still what has been one of the most impressive aspects of the $13 million remodeling project is the large amounts of light flowing into the new south wing classrooms.

'The natural light is beautiful,' said Lukich. The new classrooms are being used to teach math and English language learners.

Students interviewed during an algebra/geometry class gave new classrooms a big Thumbs Up.

'I like that there are windows because in all other classrooms there are no windows,' said Ally Misi, a sophomore.

She said the school is now so nice that no one can 'call us 'ghetto' ' anymore.

Noe Gomez, a junior, said he likes the improvements as well.

'I happen to like the view outside,' he said. 'It just gives me some thinking space.'

Math teacher Kim Gibson, now in her third year at Aloha, described the classrooms as airy.

'It's nice to be in a new place,' said Gibson. 'It makes you feel proud.'

Windows in the second floor of the English Language Learners' office are so spacious that staff member Becky Wangenheim recently spotted a fire engulfing a nearby tree. (By the time she reached 9-1-1, a fire engine already was on its way.)

A parent walking through the building during a recent tour told Lukich he still couldn't believe how much he liked the remodeled school.

On Saturday, the school will host a grand opening celebration from 7 to 8:30 p.m. complete with tours and student performances.

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