Schools Get New Science Classrooms

French Middle School recently unveiled their three new science classrooms in a ribbon cutting ceremony. Students helped cut the ribbons before they headed into the new labs for the first time. The French science rooms, along with the Topeka West High School and Robinson Middle School science rooms, make up the first round of science classroom renovations in the district. Thanks to the voter-approved Securing Our Future bond initiative, all middle and high school science classrooms will be updated to meet 21st century science standards.
French 6th grade science instructor Diane Denmark said both she and the students were very eager to begin using the new space. “Everything is new… the ceiling, walls, whiteboards, counter tops, cabinets. What we have now that we didn’t have before is that we have an actual science lab. It looks like a lab, which changes the mindset of the students,” she said.

The school year began with science classes being held in traditional classrooms, not science labs, while the renovations were being completed. “We had no counter space for our lab work,” Denmark said. “Now we have the space to spread out. The kids will be starting a chemistry unit and will be working with chemicals, so this space will be perfect.”

One of the new features of the updated science labs is a dishwasher. “We do lots of science experiments. For example we just got done with one that used lots of vials. Prior to having a dishwasher in the
classroom, I had to haul them all home in shopping bags and wash them at home. Now I can wash them here,” Denmark said.
Also at the ribbon cutting ceremony was school board member Dr. Michael Morrison, who spoke to the students. “I just hope all these new facilities encourage you guys to look at science as a career after high school and college,” he said.

District administrators, school principals and architects are working together to decide which buildings will be part of the second round of schools
to receive science lab renovations. The next set of renovations will begin at the end of this school year, and all other middle and high school science labs will be completed by the 2017-2018 school year.

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