The new chemistry/science lab has been completed at DeKalb County High School and classes could be held there for the first time since the update as early as next week or after fall break.
The old lab equipment was removed at the end of the school year in May and the room underwent a major renovation over the summer. Although most of the work was completed by the start of school in August, the new lab equipment did not arrive until September.
(NOTE: THE VIDEOS SHOWN BELOW DEPICT THE LOOK OF THE SAME SCIENCE LAB ROOM BOTH AFTER AND BEFORE THE RENOVATION. THE TOP VIDEO IS THE NEW LAB. THE BOTTOM VIDEO SHOWS THE LOOK OF THE OLD LAB)
Dylan Kleparek, one of the teachers who will be using the lab, told WJLE Friday that the facility is state of the art. "I'm very impressed. I think its going to be great. It's a well needed update to our school and its going to help us do things we weren't able to do before. We have a long line of storage cabinets along the side wall with a dishwasher to wash glassware and a handicapped accessible sink in the back. Along the back wall we have a fume hood that is used for experiments and things that create fumes which are not good for inside the classroom. We have lots of storage cabinets in the back to hold glassware and various experiment equipment and things. We have eight lab tables where we can have four students per table. Each table is equipped with gas, water, and electricity and more storage. In the front, we have a teacher work station. Its going to be great for setting up demonstrations and teaching from. We have a promethean smart board in the front which is the most up to date technology we can get. We have all the makings of a really good lab setup. Its about as state of the art as we can get," said Kleparek.
Amanda Fuller, another teacher who will be using the lab, said she too is impressed with what she has seen. "It is amazing to walk in here and see everything that's available, things I didn't even know we were going to have. They've gone above and beyond anything we expected to have in this classroom. It will definitely change what we are able to do from a safety perspective. We can allow students to do things and not have as much of a fear of them getting hurt. I want to thank the people who have contributed to this, the people who have worked so hard to get this here for our students. Its something we have needed for a long time. Its been overdue. I'm very appreciative that they have seen the need. They have worked hard to get it done," said Fuller.
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and school board members Kenny Rhody and W.J. (Dub) Evins, III visited the lab on Friday.
"I'm really pleased with the way the place looks," said Rhody. " We've definitely jumped ahead 40 years from where we were. I'm real excited for the kids and for Coach K," he said.
"I'm grateful we were finally able to put some things together and get this done," said Evins. " I appreciate the board's input. It's a little bit expensive but not for what its worth. We spend $80,000 on a bus each year but put $20,000 to $30,000 more with it and look at what we have. I appreciate a comment a young lady (student) made who just came in here (to the lab). She sat down in one of the seats and said she thought she could learn more because of the setting. That's a pretty good comment. This room is configured for 32 students. We've got a smart board in here. I think its just a great thing to see the difference now compared to what was in here since 1963. We have the teachers who have the capability of doing what they need to do. They just needed the equipment to do it with. I don't think we could ask for anything better for what money this cost. Its just a great thing. We hope that the end result when the kids graduate from here and go onto college is that they can be proud of graduating from here and getting a good education in physics, chemistry, and the science department,' said Evins
Willoughby added "I think that our teachers are really happy. Most of all I think by having facilities such as this we'll be able to meet the needs of our students much better. As times change our facilities have to change also. We have an up to date science lab/chemistry lab which can be used by our different teachers. I think it will make all the difference in the world in the learning experience for our children. Its been a lot of hard work getting to this level. We've had a lot of people put a lot of hours in making it happen but our whole goal is what is good for the students. This is good for the students of DeKalb County. That's why we're in the business. The board has been pushing for this. They have seen the need for it and now we see the reality of making it happen. When we come back from fall break, we intend to have classes right here. Its going to be a great learning facility for the students of DeKalb County," said Willoughby
"I want to thank our board for focusing on our children and putting the focus on making sure we meet the needs of the children," added Willoughby. " Its pretty easy to keep things the way they are but to change things is difficult. Changing things makes a big effort. It's a lot harder to make a change and have a vision for the future rather than it is to just stay the same. Our board of education and our teachers are not satisfied with staying the same. Our board, our teachers, and all our staff want to progress. They want to have the vision for the future for our children. They want to focus on what's best for the children. We have a great staff here at DeKalb County High School along with our other schools. We also have a fantastic board that focuses on what's best for children. If we would all focus on what's best for children, the whole world would be different and I think DeKalb County would be different also and progress a lot faster. Hopefully, in the future we will always look and see what's best for the children in all the decisions that we make," said Willoughby.