Efficiency was the word as the Marshall County Commission and other officials toured the new Cameron High/Middle School building Tuesday.
"You're going to see a beautiful school here," said Marshall County Schools Assistant Superintendent Wayne Simms.
The school is 600 feet long, divided into 5 sections with about 130 rooms. It has a capacity of 425 students. Thus far, according to Simms, there should be 360-380 students attending classes when the facility opens.
Photo by Jennifer Compston-Strough
Marshall County Commissioner Don Mason leads the way as he and Commissioner Jason “Jake” Padlow tour one of the large mechanical rooms inside the new school. Looking on from left are Sheriff John Gruzinskas and Chief Deputy Kevin Cecil.
Giving the tour were Simms and Rick Milhoan of Project and Construction Services Inc.
Milhoan said the new school is designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. To become LEED certified, the building is designed to conserve energy in many ways. For example, the structure wraps around the hillside behind it, making it possible to use geothermal heating and cooling.
Floors have been made of very tough and easy to clean materials, as have the walls - especially in areas like the kitchen and meat processing lab. Windows have been placed all over the complex to provide a great deal of natural lighting, along with multiple skylights. The electrical lighting throughout the building detects motion and is activated automatically, and it can be controlled from a remote location by the principal.
"The lights could be turned off and on at home," said Simms.
Aside from two gymnasiums and several workout rooms, the school will also feature a new innovation in fitness known as "exergaming."
"Think of it as Nintendo Wii on steroids," said Milhoan.
Solar panels have been installed on the hillside behind the school, meant to further help with energy efficiency.
Officials were impressed with the meat processing lab, which includes a large cooler, an overhead rail system to ease movement of large pieces of meat, processing stations for several people to work at and a room for smoking pork and beef. Using these facilities, students can process about 100 pigs each year, mostly for the annual Ham and Bacon Show.
Principal Jack Cain said students can earn thousands of dollars that goes into their own pockets for their work in the meat shop. Last year students made more than $70,000 without the benefit of the new facilities. Meat processed at the school can be purchased by local residents.
"You would be hard pressed to find facilities anywhere in the state as nice as this," said Cain.
All science, biology and chemistry labs are to come complete with special preparation rooms for teachers. They include office space for the teachers, storage for laboratory supplies, emergency wash stations and chemical hoods that can ventilate odors from the labs quickly.
Outside the school, further steps have been taken to assist with teaching and efficiency. The roof is white to avoid absorbing heat and save on cooling costs. The sidewalks outside are also equipped with electric snow melt, which means they will require no shoveling.