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Elizabeth Callaghan, a Grace Academy teacher, demonstrates the use of one of the interactive whiteboards that were part of a recently completed expansion on Jan. 29.

 

Grace Academy expanded their campus with new classrooms and a new cafeteria that were opened in January.

The $6 million expansion for the Marysville private school began construction in January of 2019 and opened this year.

The project has been in the works for a while.

“We started in 2013, and there were just a number of delays along the way,” said school administrator Timothy Lugg.

“It’s just a huge blessing to, number one, get the project finished, but also just to use these spaces. It’s refreshing and we’re excited about the student learning,” he said.

Students had their first day in the expansion on Jan. 27.

“They’re enjoying the new space,” said Grace Academy teacher Elizabeth Callaghan.

“They have been enthusiastic about getting to tasks. There’s more space for them,” she said. “For them to be able to get into groups and not be right on top of each other is so much easier.”

The impetus for the expansion project for the school was their old science lab, which Lugg said wasn’t adequate.

“The other lab was probably around half this size and it was difficult to do anything,” he said.

Storage space was lacking and the room wasn’t outfitted specifically for science projects like the school’s new space is.’

“As a smaller school, we have one lab, so this has to accommodate biology, chemistry and physics,” said Lugg.

The new science lab features better technology for demonstrating experiments.

All of the new classrooms have new technology as well, such as smart whiteboards.

“The neatest thing is that right away this week it was already improving learning,” said Callaghan.

“I had four students up at the same time writing principles on the board,” she said.

The smart whiteboards allow teachers to pull up images from their computer and make notes directly on the screen for students, among other features.

“It’s not like we didn’t have technology in our old rooms. I had a projector, I had a document camera,” said Callaghan. “But they were slower, even the turn on in the morning, and there’s no prep time with the interactive white board."

The expansion also features a new cafeteria for the school. Formerly students ate at tables put up on the stage of the school.

Now there’s a dedicated cafeteria area.

“And the stage will be dedicated to the fine arts now,” said Lugg.

This is the first time the building will have an elevator as well.

“We’re fully ADA compliant with an elevator, which we’ve never had in this building before,” said Lugg.

“We frequently have students that are injured and they’ve had to make due with our stairs, and now they have something better,” he said.

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