BABBITT, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)--With nearly $80 million in approved bond funding, St. Louis County School District 2142 was able to build two new schools and remodel three others for this school year.
The Babbitt–Embarrass and Tower–Soudan schools merged into the Northeast Range Campus in Babbitt.
Three-hundred-forty-three K-12th grade students from Tower– Soudan and Babbitt–Embarrass walked into the Northeast Range School Tuesday as Nighthawks.
Principal Gary Friedlieb says the merger is going more smoothly than he expected.
"Open ceilings and things hanging and open pallets in the hallway, dust and debris all over," Friedlieb said. "A week ago it didn't appear as if we would really be able to run the show, but amazingly, we were good to go."
School District 2142 granted Northeast Range $5 million to make its renovations.
The money provided a new media center and a gym that's still under construction.
Contractors are expected to be finished with a majority of that work by the end of October.
Students seemed happy with their new digs.
"I think it's kind of cool because you know, we've always been here and had everything purple and white, and now its different colors," Signe Scholl, a sophomore from Babbitt said. "It shows the new beginning, it shows that we're new, we are different now."
"The merger went well," Miles Gardner, a senior from Babbitt said. "We got more than we expected to come here. Everybody gets along, we know each other from all the football games and everything so. We brought them over four times last year, to get everybody acquainted."
The building itself is not the only change students will experience.
A new scheduling system called Flex Wednesday gives students the chance take a wide range of elective courses from forest field skills to sports broadcasting.
"We've had, typically had, a seven hour day," Joan Kjorsvig, a guidance counselor said. "So we took on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, six hours, and then took the seventh, and expanded those so they are longer, and then put the seventh period on Wednesday."
Also new in the classrooms this year is a touch screen whiteboard projection system called a Starboard.
"Kids these days are so integrated in technology for what they have, they have no fear of jumping right in," Pete Klabechek, an English and Broadcasting teacher said.
They're jumping right into their sports as well.
Northeast Range girls Volleyball will compete against Ely at Ely High School Tuesday at 7:00 P.M.
Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch