New Union High School Building Mimics College Campus

Tuesday, August 21st 2012, 6:18 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Students at Union High School started classes Monday in a new, $26 million addition to the building.

Union builds big and this is the latest example of a how the suburban school district is handling its growth.

If the new addition to Union High School looks more like something on a college campus, the architect has met the goal for Union's Collegiate Academy. Everything about is meant to convey to students that they are going to college and to show them what it's like.

Lisa Witcher is the senior class principal.

"It captures that free time that we all explored our freshman year of college, but they're still under their parents' auspices of their parents' homes and Union High School so we can guide them to make good decisions about how to use that free time," said Principal Lisa Witcher.

The collegiate academy is for students in 10th to 12th grades.

Voters approved the bonds that paid for the $26 million building, which was built onto the front of the old high school.

It has 37 new classrooms, many of them laboratories for advanced classes that weren't offered before.

The rooms for regular classes have the newest technology. And for the first time in a long time, Union has room for all of the high school classes to be under the same roof.

Union also now has the capacity to feed all 3,200 students - though some will still choose to eat off campus. The addition included a new kitchen and 8 distinctly themed choices for the students.

"The whole concept behind the collegiate academy was the college atmosphere, so we wanted all of the dining areas to be like that at OSU or TU," said Eli Huff, Executive Chef. "Here you can take your food in the halls, go eat - we have a coffee shop opening in a couple of weeks."

But the bulk of the building is new and advanced classrooms to give students a head start on college coursework and the environment of higher education.

Each grade of the high school has more than 1,000 students - and each grade has it's own principal. Click on the web extra video to learn more about how that works.