Ellis opens doors to publicPublished 7:59am Wednesday, October 20, 2010
William Bartemes was busy making elephant toothpaste Tuesday night during Ellis Middle School’s Open House. Bartemes, an eighth-grader, went through the science experiment several times, creating what looked like a great big fizzling mess to illustrate the possibilities middle school students now have in the three new science classrooms installed this year at Ellis.
“It’s a lot nicer,” Bartemes said.
Because of the expansion project, which began in mid-April, middle school students enjoy more classrooms, a large kitchen space, an even larger multi-purpose gym room and state-of-the-art science labs.
Many people who participated in the open house were amazed by how modern everything looked, from the digital microscopes that show students exactly what the teachers are looking at on the class smartboards (whiteboards with projectors attached to them which project what’s on the teacher’s computer monitor) to the various machinery and tools students used.
“It’s just gorgeous,” Joan O’Rourke, one of the people who toured Ellis’s new additions, said. “It’s changed the middle school into looking like a high school.”
“It’s a lot better than the country school I went to,” O’Rourke’s friend Fern Giffie said.
The science classrooms, which were sponsored by the Hormel Foundation, Hormel Foods Corporation, Austin Packaging Company and donations by Dick and Nancy Knowlton, come equipped with sinks, brand-new cabinetry and plenty of room for students’ work. This is a major improvement from previous classrooms, as before students had to huddle around stations lined around classroom walls, often with their backs to the front of the classroom. Now, students can sit across from each other as well as watch whatever the teacher is doing.