Parents and alumni got their first look at Union High School's new collegiate academy on Sunday during an open house and dedication ceremony.
The new school aims to help make students' transition from high school to college easier.
"The union district is amazing anyway, but this school is unbelievable," parent Christie Johnson said.
The $26-million building is named in honor of current Union Superintendent Dr. Cathy Burden, who helped spearhead the project.
"This was really a move to deal with students in today's time," Burden said.
The new academy has 37 classrooms designed at giving students a taste of college life.
Jona Ghose teaches an English Virtual Learning program that allows students to do all their class work from a laptop.
"Kids in the normal classroom would be afraid to speak up. I'm getting to know them because there's no one to say… ‘Oh, keep quiet," Ghose said.
She said that kind of workflow should even help prepare students for real-world jobs.
"The world has evolved from that mindset, that may have been sufficient back in the dark ages when with lava was cooling," Ghose said.
Union partnered with Tulsa Tech and Tulsa Community College to give students a chance to get college credit for their work.
"Not only does it gives students a jumpstart on earning credits, the money saved is definitely such a benefit," Burden said.
"I think it's a great opportunity to graduate with a year of college done," freshman Tyler Walker said.
It paves a new road to excellence, and helps create a more perfect union for the students at Union High.
"You want your kids to have better and do better than you did so it's really nice," Johnson said.
Burden said along with the virtual and college courses, Union also offers apprenticeships with on-site training.
Voters passed two bond issues, and nearly four years worth of planning went into the project.