More than 500 people flocked to the public tour of Smith-Cotton High School on Monday night.
The Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education hosted the event to give the public an opportunity to see the 225,000-square-foot building.
Sedalia resident Ursula Harris brought her 15-year-old daughter, Kourtlyn Henderson, to the tour. “I wanted to see if I’m getting my money’s worth,” Harris said.
Harris, a full-time student at the University of Central Missouri, said she loved the practicality of the stained concrete floor but thought the color scheme was drab.
“The colors are dungeon-like,” she said.
The white walls weren’t appealing to Harris either.
“Kids don’t want to go to school anyway,” she said. “I was hoping for brighter colors, but maybe the kids will be able to put their mark on it.”
While the decor didn’t meet Harris’ standards, the technology and athletic equipment did. Harris said she was impressed by the massive library, which is flanked by two computer labs. She also was awed by the fully-equipped weight room located off the gym.
“That weight room is better than we have at college,” she said.
Susan Bell, a 16-year-old junior at Smith-Cotton, said she is looking forward to beginning her science classes in the new state-of-the-art labs. Bell, who hopes to become a neurologist was also thrilled by the library.
“Our library at the old high school was so small,” Bell said. “I’m so excited about the technology at this school.”
The new science labs hold six lab tables with computer hook-ups, an emergency shower and eye-wash station, and a space for students to sit at desks during lectures.
Bell was also a fan of the weight room and said she hopes it will be available to all students and not just athletes.
Sedalia resident Shirley Morley said she joined the tour because she is interested in education. Morley said the gym and weight room were impressive and the concrete floors were a good idea.
“I would have liked to see happier colors,” she said, “but the building is very impressive.”
Sue Nutt also came out of curiosity. Nutt said her daughter graduated from Smith-Cotton in 1987, but she was interested in the new facility. Nutt said she was overwhelmed by the size of the high school.
“This school is much more than I thought,” Nutt said, “and I’m surprised by all the rooms.”
Janet Steen, who retired from the school district after 34 years as a secretary, said the school was awesome as well.
“They’re going to need to hold an orientation for the students so they don’t get lost,” she said.
Superintendent Harriet Wolfe, who led a tour of about 20 people, showed the visitors where work has begun on a track and where practice fields will be created behind the building. Wolfe said the new fields are intended for practice only.
“We don’t intend to leave Jennie Jaynes Stadium, she said.
Soccer, softball and baseball teams will all have practice fields at the high school, Wolfe said.
“I wasn’t excited to start school,” Henderson said, “but now I am because I can’t wait to see how everything fits together.”
Sedalia students begin school Sept. 8.