Several hundred people Sunday celebrated the new Capital City High School and the renovated Jefferson City High School with ceremonies and tours at both of the city's public high schools.
At CCHS, sophomore Student Council member Janaya Sangster addressed the crowd, telling them the projects wouldn't have been possible without the district's leadership and the community's support.
"In contrast to my school year at Simonsen Ninth Grade Center, it's safe to say that this building is quite a bit of an upgrade," she said to laughter.
While the projects were completed enough for both schools to open in the fall, Sunday was the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
More than 60 percent of local voters in April 2017 approved the bond issue and property tax increases funding the projects to build CCHS and renovate JCHS and Nichols Career Center.
Sangster described the building design as "state of the art" and the staff as "sympathetic and helpful."
"From the large open spaces, and vibrant colors in classrooms, to the functional decor like flexible seating, whiteboard tables and standing desks, the amount of thought that went into this building is unparalleled," she said.
The technology and design elements in the projects might be unfamiliar to past generations. Both have more of an open-air feeling, with more common areas and places to sit. Rooms have Smartboard-type devices, carpet has been added to JCHS classrooms. CCHS has "think tanks" — sort of like mini conference rooms with technology, so students can hold small meetings, or practice for group projects or presentations.
The schools and the classrooms mostly appeared pristine, and visitors to both schools gave the projects rave reviews.
"This is beautiful," said Dorothy Lamb, whose twin granddaughters attend CCHS. "I'm really happy they did it. It's a good use of taxpayer dollars."
She said the cafeteria doesn't look like a cafeteria, with a few booths that oversee the gym. "It looks like a restaurant," her husband, Steve, added.
They said their granddaughters love the new school.
At JCHS, Tasiana Malya went to the event because she has a daughter who attends the school. She said the renovation was "perfect," and she particularly liked how it connects Nichols Career Center.
Bryan and Dawn Scheiderer attended with their daughter, Ella. Bryan works in Jefferson City, but they still live in Salisbury, where Ella is a high school freshman. They hope to move to Jefferson City and have Ella attend JCHS.
"I'm very impressed," Dawn said. "To see the support of the community and the faculty, it's very impressive."
The couple said they were excited about the possibilities of a larger school.
"There's so many things to explore and do," Bryan said. "Your kids here are fortunate to have a facility like this and a community that's willing to support the school."
Check out the Jefferson City School District's tour of Jefferson City High School and Nichols Career Center at www.facebook.com/jcschools/videos/701951740336146/
Check out the Jefferson City School District's tour of Capital City High School at www.facebook.com/jcschools/videos/1237907663265815/