Under radiant sunshine, contractors swung the final beam for the future V.R. Eaton High School into place last Wednesday.
“This is a great day,” said Northwest Superintendent Karen Rue. “We recognize a significant point in the construction of the third high school in our district. It’s a day we visualize kids learning in a setting second to none.”
The massive Eaton High School will open in August 2015. It’s located on 79.5 acres off U.S. 81/287 on Willow Springs Road. It will be 524,602 square feet – 20,000 square feet bigger than both of NISD’s current high schools, Northwest and Byron Nelson.
The number of bricks that will be used in the building would reach 85 miles tall if stacked on top of each other. Its 1,960 tons of steel could produce 2,177 cars. The Eaton gym will seat 1,300 fans.
And although its size is impressive, the design and plans for its use are equally remarkable.
“The students here will be our future,” said Dr. Karen Eddy, Eaton’s principal.
NISD is going to great lengths with the design and construction of the $91 million school to meet the demands of education in the future. It will feature an 800-seat auditorium, large lecture hall, two-story library connected to the Java City and flexible classroom space. As Eddy points out, the classroom is being turned around with teachers now helping to facilitate and help students use the information at their fingertips.
“Before, teachers had the knowledge and regurgitated it,” she said. “Now, teachers are the facilitators of the knowledge. Children are discovering how they can learn and become critical thinkers and contributors.”
No section of the building illustrates the changing classroom and Eaton’s trailblazing mission more than the business and entrepreneurship academy, which will be the first of its kind in the state. NISD officials, including Eddy, have visited classes in New York to learn about the academy, which will be far more than just students learning about business.
“It’s not going to look like a school, but an office,” Eddy explained. “It will give a taste of the real world.
“The capstone of the academy students will be running a firm and selling a product. They will not only run a business but also be determining what they can sell to other students. It’ll go beyond knowledge to application.”
Eddy plans to start adding staff soon, starting with hiring of the associate principals, head football coach and band director. She hopes to have all the professional staff in place by May.
“You don’t do it all on your own. That’s why you hire good people,” Eddy said.
It’s those teachers and students that will establish new traditions and forge a place forever in NISD’s burgeoning future. As Rue pointed out, the district is only at 15 percent of its eventual build out.
“People in our future will look at the buildings and the names on the buildings,” Rue said. “This is about building a community and schools that will matter in the future.”
EHS is named in memory of Wise County resident and rancher V.R. Eaton. He is the father of Messenger publisher Roy Eaton.