Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

New $27.7 Million Douglass High School in OKC Set for Grand Opening Saturday

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

New $27.7 Million Douglass High School in OKC Set for Grand Opening Saturday

Article excerpt

James Johnson, president of the Douglass High School Alumni Association, said Thursday that he's so inspired by the newly built Douglass High School that he almost wishes he were a student again.

It's a wonderful modern facility that has amenities that will look good to any student who attends there, Johnson said, a 1971 Douglass High graduate. It's a beautiful school, and it makes me want to be a student today.

I think it is just wonderful and marvelous to be a citizen of the Oklahoma City community at this time, and Douglass High is fortunate to be selected as the first high school to benefit from the MAPS for Kids plan, he said.

Johnson will join B.J. and Frederick Douglas IV, Gov. Brad Henry and first lady Kim Henry, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, City Councilwoman Willa Johnson, U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook and other special guests at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on the new campus at 900 N. Martin Luther King Ave. for the high school's grand opening celebration.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Spokesman Cordell Jordan said the 202,255-square-foot school cost $27.7 million to build and is designed to accommodate 1,200 students, grades 7 through 12.

This is the first new high school to be completed using MAPS for Kids bond-initiative money, Jordan said. We're obviously very excited that this is the first brand-new high school in Oklahoma in 50 years. It is an example of how important that MAPS for Kids initiative is for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

When the MAPS for Kids program is complete, every student and teacher will be in a brand-new or fully renovated classroom, which is an immense help in the education of our students, Jordan said.

The new school features a mock courtroom, 30 general classrooms, eight science labs, 24 specialty classes, physical education classrooms, a practice gym, an 1,800-seat competition gym, a media center, a modern kitchen and cafeteria, and a 1,200-seat auditorium. Jordan said the demolition of the old high school, which was built in 1954, began Wednesday. Once it is leveled, construction will begin on the All City Sports Complex.

Douglass High School Principal Vallene Cooks said students began attending class at the new building in January.

For the first time in my professional life, we have all of our students and staff under one roof, Cooks said. We've always had to deal with school buildings that had other little buildings and to be concerned about inclement weather. It was also hard to monitor when things were so far away.

It's very pretty and it's not just new, they put some design features into it to make it very attractive, Cooks said. It's a real source of pride for our school.

She said that nearly everyone who comes to the new school makes the same remark.

It looks like a college campus, Cooks said. The students went into the auditorium for the first time yesterday, and I told them to remember their seat numbers, because they are the first person to sit in that seat at this school. …

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