Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Some Syracuse elementary school students are returning from holiday break to an almost brand new school. Doctor Weeks Elementary School has reopened after being closed for more than a year for major renovations.
The school was closed for 18 months while it got $29 million worth of renovations, including full walls. The older school was built in the 70s with an open concept and portable partitions were used, meaning the walls didn’t reach the ceilings. The layout also meant walking through many classrooms to get around, sometimes disrupting students.
"Now every room has a separate entrance and you don't have to go anywhere to go in or out...you don't have to disrupt anyone,” said Principal Dare Dutter.
Hundreds of windows have been added to the new school making it a brighter building. The old building had very few windows that were very small.
“There are a lot of physical aspects to learning and if you're in a place that's comfortable and it's bright and a place with access to sunlight, it's a lot more of a positive experience for kids,” Principal Dutter said.
The experience at the new school will also be a more high tech one for students. Each classroom is now equipped with smart boards. The school also has a new technology space that could be the site of virtual field trips in the future.
“It really is more technologically and physically much more conducive to education and moving kids along,” Principal Dutter continued.
The district is also working on upgrades at other schools. Renovations at Fowler High School should be complete next month. Work on H.W. Smith Elementary is set to be complete by December.