ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Principal's Picks: Top 5 features of new East High School

Students' first glimpse as they step inside the new Duluth East High School's major space is what East principal Laurie Knapp can't wait to see. The main entrance is topped by a wall of glass. Beyond that is a palatial atrium flanked by columns t...

East High School
The vast commons area of the new Duluth East High School has a second-floor mezzanine with seating that gives views of Lake Superior. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Students' first glimpse as they step inside the new Duluth East High School's major space is what East principal Laurie Knapp can't wait to see.

The main entrance is topped by a wall of glass. Beyond that is a palatial atrium flanked by columns that surround the cafeteria and commons area of the school. Look up three stories to skylights. A second-floor mezzanine with seating gives views of Lake Superior. The auditorium and gym are off the commons, along with the kitchen, office and guidance and career centers.

"It feels like a college atmosphere," Knapp said of the commons area. With the same booths and tables as at Denfeld, students will have places to congregate for the first time. "This will be a hub of socialization, I believe."

Because the gym and auditorium will be used by the community as well as the school, nearby bathrooms are large. The women's bathroom has 19 stalls.

Knapp predicts students will be excited about these features:

ADVERTISEMENT

1. The 850-seat auditorium

The auditorium is going to save the school some transportation and hall rental money. While not big enough for holiday concerts and graduation, it can be used for rehearsals instead of paying to rent and send kids to other venues, Knapp said, and it will keep students from missing more class time. It's also close to the music rooms for easy transport.

2. Music rooms

The choir, band and orchestra rooms are sound-proofed and have plenty of storage for instruments, along with practice rooms and sound-proof booths. More than 600 East students take a music class, Knapp said, and they will appreciate the attention to detail to make their programs even better.

"They are the flagship of our school," she said. "They are known nationwide for the quality of their music programs."

3. Science rooms

With the same trappings of the Denfeld science rooms, the importance placed on the subject is seen again.

Ninth-graders, said science teacher Cindy Grindy, now have real labs.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Storage space, gas jets, sinks," she said. "It's completely different. Ninth-grade is hands-on. They're doing labs every day. This is going to be better."

4. The media center

With its breakout rooms for special projects and rounded, flowing room, students will spend a lot of time in the media center. For the first time, they will check textbooks out of the media center instead of getting them from teachers.

5. Danceline practice room

Part of the old gym was saved to give a room to the danceline, Knapp said, which often traveled to the Woodland or Congdon Park gyms for practice. Shared with adaptive physical education classes, the dancers will have a mirror-lined space for practice. Some of the girls on an early tour last year for the school newspaper cried when they learned they had a room.

"They have had to battle for space forever," Knapp said.

------

East's enrollment has grown this year, early numbers suggest. About 100 more students have registered so far, with 1,628 students as of Tuesday compared to 1,525 last year. The school will be mostly ready on opening day, except for the football field, some vocational program space, family and consumer science kitchens and a greenhouse. Classes will go on as planned, but teachers will work their instruction around what's not done. The field won't be ready for use until next year.

ADVERTISEMENT

Knapp is happy that the old East will become the new middle school.

"As a community, it would be a shame to lose that," she said. "I think about the number of students and teachers that have walked and worn down those marble stairs. It's a beautiful building."

Related Topics: EDUCATIONSCHOOL BOARD
What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.