MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - Students, parents and school administrators gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday. The New Tech Academy, located at 402 North S Street, is part of the Alice Robertson Junior High School campus.

It's the first New Tech Academy in the state. The school district is using a new curriculum focusing on group study and problem solving.

The New Tech Academy hosts high-tech classrooms and science labs, solar and wind power instruction as well as core classes for 200 seventh and eighth graders chosen by lottery. The New Tech Academy will center on project-based, hands-on learning for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

"I was so happy, and I was so excited," said Dev Jinwalla, student. Dev and his brother were selected to be part of the first class of eighth graders.

"I like it," he said. "This classroom is so much better than the old schools. I'm happy that I'm in the New Tech."

The eight classrooms are powered by solar, wind and geothermal energy. Partitions open up to allow students to learn and use an adjoining science lab.

New Tech Director Brian Doerner says a part of the problem-solving curriculum is designed to help students learn what jobs are out there before they head to high school and take college placement tests.

"What we want is that they don't cross anything off the list in terms of career, college and career," he said. 

Muskogee Schools Superintendent Mike Garde thanked the Muscogee Creek Nation for financial support. 

Bond money provided $3.8 million for the building with $170,000 for the new curriculum from the Muscogee Creek Nation. Principal Chief George Tiger was one of the dignitaries participating in the event.

Students in the program will still go over to the junior high for electives and athletics. Classes start August 20.