A new addition to Echo school swill be enjoyed by all the city’s residents. About 150 people gathered on Wednesday to celebrate the school’s new facility, which includes new classrooms and a new gymnasium, art room, wood and welding shop, public workout room and community center.
“This is meant to encompass what a small community is,” said Raymon Smith, superintendent of Echo School District. “To meet all the needs of the community, not just one aspect.”
The project, on which construction began in July 2017, cost $8 million and was funded half by a school bond and half by a grant from the state.
After the ribbon-cutting, students and their families toured the new facility and visited their new teachers and classrooms.
Sophomore Zoe Russell said she was excited to have a school and a gym that was on par with other districts.
“It’s really cool and modern,” she said. “I just like the space.”
Keith Holman, Echo School principal and shop teacher, said the new space will allow Echo students more opportunities.
“It’s given us room to do the things we’ve always wanted to do,” he said.
Holman added that the new rooms don’t accommodate more students at the school, but the district has grown.
“Right now, we have a waiting list from kindergarten to eighth grade,” he said. “Not that we don’t want students, but our school board has been big that we keep small numbers.”
He said Echo School currently has about 300 students.
He said the new space will help accommodate other activities, where previously teachers would have to conduct testing or reading activities with students in cramped spaces or busy areas.
“Now, we have rooms for that,” he said. “It’s given us an upgrade.”
He added that starting this year, every student from sixth to 12th grade will receive a Chromebook laptop computer. If they get through school and graduate, they get to keep the Chromebook.
The entrance to the new building is a community center called Pioneer Hall. Smith said Echo’s senior citizens had been looking for a place to gather, and this will allow them to do so.