As guests toured the campus on Ghiggeri Drive during last week’s dedication ceremony, the consensus response was joy and pride. “Can you believe this? This campus is gorgeous,” said one guest as she walked the quad. “This is phenomenal,” said another guest. “I’m so happy for the students.” No matter whom you talked to, the reaction was the same: the six-year journey that led to the opening of the campus was worth the wait.
“It took a long time, but it was worth it,” said Brentwood Vice Mayor Steve Barr, a former Liberty Union High School District trustee. “The students and the staff have been so patient, and we (the school board and district staff) worked really hard to create a campus that would improve the education experience and foster success, and I think that’s what the students are finding here.”
The new La Paloma campus, 4,000 square feet larger than the old Lone Tree campus, includes a gym, kitchen facility, basketball court, recreation field and track; art, science and media labs; and classrooms equipped with the latest technology. The desk design allows them to be formed into a circle to create a collaborative learning environment. And classrooms utilize LCD screens and smart boards to enhance learning.
While the upgrade has influenced the educational atmosphere around campus, District Director of Project Development Wayne Reeves told the crowd of more than 150 students and local dignitaries that the campus has also boosted La Paloma morale. “I had a student come up to me on the first day and tap me on the shoulder. He said, ‘Now I know the school board believes in us.’ Well, it wasn’t done by me or the board. It was done by a lot of sweat from the students and faculty working as a team to get this school built.”
Student Roy Neilson addressed the crowd and expressed the thanks of the entire student body. For many students, the new campus has made the continuation high school feel like a “real” school, motivating students more than ever to strive for success.
Principal Regina Greene is counting on that. Now that the school district and community have done their part, it’s up to students to make the most of their new home. “The tools are here for each and everyone one of you to take hold and continue to build a good bridge toward your success,” Greene said. “Students, this is your time to take ownership of your education. This is your campus. Let learning be your vehicle to success.”
Superintendent Eric Volta encouraged students to ride the exciting momentum of the first few weeks of the school year and create a new legacy for La Paloma while building on the school’s traditions. Based on the students’ applause, they intend to do that and more.