New science lab

Athens High School Administrator Jami Ivey shows community members around the campus’ new science buildings during an official dedication ceremony held Tuesday. The two new science labs will be used by freshman students at the Athens Annex.

Athens school administrators are hoping new state of the art science labs will help their students become more competitive when it comes to the subject.

On Tuesday, administrators, city officials and school board members met to dedicate two new science labs in the Athens Annex. Part of the Annex is used exclusively by Athens High School freshman.

Athens Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Fred Hayes began the ceremony by discussing how important science education is for Athens and the nation.

“Science education is one of the places the U.S. is falling down,” Hayes said. “When the students are in these labs it will give them a new view of how science education should be.”

The new science labs have work areas with computer hookups that will allow students and teachers to embrace a more interactive experience.

The board of trustees sat aside money from the capital projects fund to update the labs. School architect firm PBK led the project. All high school students must complete four years of science in order to receive their diploma.

During a tour of the labs, Hayes explained that teachers now have the ability to connect a computer to a microscope, and then project the image for the students to all see the specimen.

Dissections will also be updated in the new lab. A special overhead camera will show students each cut the teacher is making during a dissection.

City Administrator Pam Burton noted the differences between the new science labs and the ones she used as a student in Athens.

“I personally have walked these halls,” she said, “and I can remember being in the science lab. I know that what we see here today is very beneficial to our students.”

AHS Principal Michael Wetchensky began his comments to the crowd with one sentence.

“Welcome to the 21st century,” he said.

Wetchensky said he was amazed to see the finished labs were exactly what he and science teacher Cynthia McNeal had asked for.

“This is what we talked about,” Wetchensky said. “That wish list was met.”

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