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Back to School: Ready for flight – Eaton HS set to open

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, August 12, 2015
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Walking though the second floor of Northwest’s new V.R. Eaton High School, Ambriette Reed points out the colorful furniture in the open corridors.

“The couches are the best part. What other school has couches?” questions the sophomore on the tour of the new high school off U.S. 81/287.

The couches and the unique charging stations are just a small part of this big school.

The massive school with 524,602 square feet was built with a budget of $91.1 million and will open Aug. 25 to freshmen and sophomores.

New Surroundings 1

NEW SURROUNDINGS – V.R. Eaton High School will open to students Aug. 25. The new high school will have approximately 1,000 freshmen and sophomores this fall. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Students are already filling the campus for fall sports practices and band rehearsals, bringing life to the campus and home to the Eaton Eagles.

“We build a building, but it’s not until the students and faculty show up that it transforms from a building into Eaton High School,” said Principal Carri Eddy.

Eddy, who was hired in May 2014 from Rockwall ISD, has patiently waited for the campus to open, while hiring staff to teach the expected 1,000 students for 2015-16.

This will be the third time in her almost two decades in education to open a brand new campus.

“It’s like having a baby,” Eddy explained. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”

New Surroundings 2

NEW SURROUNDINGS – Among the athletic facilities at the new school are three gyms, a turf football/soccer/track stadium and the large indoor practice facility being toured at right. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Over the first year, while students and staff members are learning their way around the campus that includes three stories, three gyms, an 800-seat auditorium and coffee shop, the culture of the school will be developed.

Eddy said that’s one of the special parts of opening a new campus – “building the culture from the ground up.”

That culture will be built around teaching students to become creators, communicators and collaborators.

“The expectations of the world is for them to be thinkers and visionaries,” Eddy said.

The school’s first academy to open – the Academy of Business Management and Entrepreneurship – embraces the vision of helping students become future ready and able to compete on the global stage.

The space for the academy has flexible classrooms and meeting spaces – all designed after real-world application.

“Learning doesn’t all take place in rows of desks,” Eddy explained. “We want people that can work in the real world. We went out to create instead of producing something someone’s already done.”

Tobey Mathis is a Wise County resident that is transferring from Northwest to Eaton to study in the academy.

“I love the setup. I’m not a fan of the big, traditional classroom,” Mathis said. “The setup will be nice and allow us to work together in groups.”

Mathis hopes to use the academy to grow his interest in marketing.

“I like to get into peoples’ heads and see what they want,” he said. “I like selling things to people.”

He added that students through the academy will be able to become Microsoft certified and earn other certifications that will help with internships and jobs.

Reed will also attend the academy and plans to major in business in college. She hopes her high school experience will help her one day run her own business.

Stephanie Reemtsma, whose interests lie in advertising and graphic design, said the ability to work with people and pursue those fields drew her to apply for the academy.

“I’m glad I did because the school is really cool,” Reemtsma said.

“I’m blown away.”

As is everyone walking the halls.

FACTS ABOUT EATON

  • Eaton High School is 524,602 square feet.
  • If all the 3×8 inch bricks in the building were stacked on top of each other, they would be more than 85 miles tall.
  • The 1,960 tons of steel for the structure would be enough for 2,177 cars.
  • Construction budget was $91.120 million.
  • Eaton mascot is Eagles, and the colors are navy blue and green.
  • The school has one competition gym and two auxiliary gyms.
  • There is one competition turf football/soccer/track stadium and two turf practice fields. There are also turf baseball and softball fields.
  • The Eaton Performing Arts Center will feature an 800-seat auditorium.
  • The first graduating class will be in 2018. The school will open with approximately 1,000 students – freshmen and sophomores.
  • The school will open the Academy of Business Management and Entrepreneurship this year. Next year the school will add an aviation academy.

– Source: V.R. Eaton website, FAQs

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