Independence students start school in brand new building - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Independence students start school in brand new building


Ten years and five failed bond issues later, a new junior-senior high school in Independence is officially a reality.

Students start the new school year Monday but Sunday, thousands packed the school to get a sneak peek.

For senior Rachel Wheelock, she wasn't sure she would ever get to experience this day.

"I'm just looking forward to being able to walk through, have space, be able to do activities in their designated areas," said Wheelock. 

The 170-thousand square foot building includes an auditorium, training room, and the main entrance will be secured at all times.

"In our old building, we had two annexes and we had a lot of doors open all day long. Right now everything is secure. We have a controlled front entrance," said Jennifer Sornson, principal.

Another safety feature, locker rooms turned into FEMA safe rooms for when severe weather strikes.

"We can get everyone in the building in the safe rooms," said Sornson.

The new school sits on 92 acres of land. School officials say the 2005 school board should get credit for that.

"Despite a little bit of controversy associated with it. and they were able to use that facility to start this campaign process," said Brian Eddy, board president.

The total cost of the building is $27.5 million, Eddy says the project came in $1.5 million under budget.

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