In the classroom: Recent Westside graduates give back

Posted at 10:54 AM, Jun 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-23 13:08:40-04

Near 98th Ave. and West Center Road construction continues on District 66’s new Oakdale Elementary School.

The original structure was leveled; the new K-6th grade school will have a historic feel with modern learning spaces. 

“It is going to be a beacon.  It is going to be amazing, we are excited for it to open,” said Joel McWilliams, the Program Manager for District 66’s Bond Program. 

About two miles away, the sounds of construction ring out at another District 66 school. 

“It is unique in the sense that we not only want to remember the past, but we want to have the past students engaged in the project,” said McWilliams. 

Joel McWilliams says this past school year a Westside architecture class held a contest, who could come up with the best design for turning salvaged wood from the old Oakdale School into a new media center desk.

“Our overall thought was to just use as much reclaimed wood as possible,” said 2017 Westside Graduate Spencer Arnold.

Arnold and three of his classmates won the design contest.

For the past month, the students have spent their summer vacation in the Westside wood shop turning their vision into a reality.

“I knew it would be early in the morning, I knew it would be hot and over my summer vacation, but I ended up doing it because I feel like this experience is so unique,” said 2017 Westside Graduate Grace Becker.

Becker and her team credit Westside’s amazing architecture program for sparking their interest in this summer project.  The teens plan to have the desk done before they head off to college.

“These four students are a great example of the type of kids we have at Westside.  We are so proud of the progress so far and we can't wait for it to be in the building and see what it looks like and really show it off,” said McWilliams.

The new Oakdale Elementary School is expected to be open in January of 2018.  The students will be in a swing space until then.