Wiregrass students may have been on spring break, but it was anything but a vacation for workers at the new high school in Ozark.
The halls are empty now, but workers scrambled to put the finishing touches on the new Carroll High School before opening bell Monday morning.
Covering more than two football fields, the new school came with a price tag upwards of $26 million, years of planning, and nearly a year and a half of construction.
And you’ll notice there’s no lockers in these hallways that’s because there’s simply no need for them. Everything is going digital
Ozark City Schools Superintendent Michael Lenhart said, “We are going to encourage our students to bring their cell phones here to school. …because that’s the way people connect with the world these days…In many of the classrooms they will be able to take their test on their cell phone.”
Principal Carroll High School Joey Brannan said, “The capabilities that this building has, not just that it looks nice but the actually instructional capabilities that this building has is something that our teachers and our students are really excited about.”
On top of the cutting edge technology, like smart boards and projectors inside the classrooms, high-tech safety features were installed to keep the unwanted out.
Lenhart said, “First of all you can’t get into the building after we hit the tardy button. Every door locks down…And if somebody does break into the building and they decide they want to come further into the building, we have steal cages and steal doors that will drop and kind of contain them to wherever they get.”
Building planners say they learned a lesson after Enterprise High School was hit by a tornado in 2007, installing 3 FEMA certified shelters into Ozark’s high school that could hold up to 1,100 students.
“They could stay in there for days. Our emergency generator system will operate the lights, the air conditioning. We have bathrooms in those areas. So they literally could be under rubble,” Lenhart said.
And the superintendent hopes the new high tech facility will keep the students focused on the lesson at hand. “And I want out students to be like eagles I want them to soar like eagles when they graduate. And they can be big beautiful magnificent very skilled people out in the real world,” he said.