Faculty, staff and students are about a month away from moving into the Meridian Public Schools' first new building in almost 20 years.
The final touches are being made to the new 9th grade building at Meridian High School. Media were allowed to tour it Wednesday.
School pride is displayed throughout the building, starting with a Wildcat emblem at the entrance. Through the foyer is the office and library across from each other. Then a staircase leads to classrooms on the third floor.
"There are 36 cameras throughout the building and the campus, and they cover all the hallways and stairwells as well as the outside areas," said Archie Scarbrough, executive director of facilities.
There are 35 classrooms. All have windows and state-of-the-art equipment. This includes the biology lab where the teacher has a remote control to shift students' table tops up or down.
"All the classrooms will have flat screen TVs, complete with cable hookups, a ceiling mounted projector and a P.A. system where the teacher can directly contact officials inside the office. If there's not an answer from the office, then an alert goes out through the hallway," said Scarbrough. "We always need to answer the pages from the room. So, if there was an accident or something in the room, someone needs to respond quickly."
With three bathrooms on each level and an elevator, district officials say they are prepared to start moving some things inside next week.
"The kids will have a walk through next week with their teachers, so they'll know where they are in the building," said superintendent Charlie Kent. "We want to make sure they understand this is their building and we want it taken care of."
The facility is 65,000 square feet. The project is about 1 percent over its $9.6 million budget. It will house 460 ninth graders when classes start Jan. 5.
An open house will be held Sunday, Dec. 13, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., for the community to see the new building.