Students, teachers, staff and community leaders gathered at Boulder City High School on Tuesday morning for the grand opening of the school’s new building, marking the end of a 68-year chapter in the school’s history.
Boulder City residents celebrated with a ribbon-cutting while students and alumni listened to the band play fight songs and the cheer team pump up the crowd.
Principal Amy Wagner breathed a sigh of relief as she reflected on the long process of making the new building a reality.
“It was a long, tough road, but I am thrilled to have the community here for this,” Wagner said. “Some good things will happen in this building.”
Completion of the $14 million, 40,000-square-foot building brings an end to Phase Two of a four-part project, which was originally approved in 1997 by voters through bonds to fund a 10-year school construction plan across Clark County.
Deanna Wright, Clark County School Board trustee for District A, congratulated students and faculty by wishing them luck in a new building to start the new year.
“Congratulations everyone; I know 2017 will be an exciting year with a new building and eminent success along the way.”
After the ribbon was cut and the doors opened, students took a tour of their new home. Many were excited, if not a bit overwhelmed, by the experience.
Sophomores Joy Miller and Kaitlyn Miller (no relation) said that they welcomed the new aesthetic.
“I think the building looks really cool,” Joy Miller said. “Everything looks so new and amazing.”
Kaitlyn Miller agreed with her friend’s sentiment but said she needed some time to get used to the new area.
“It is great that we are in a new building and out of the old one,” Kaitlyn Miller said. “It still feels a little strange because I have to get used to finding my classes again, getting used to all the new stuff, but give me a couple weeks and I will have a handle on it.”
The two girls said that they didn’t really have a connection to the old building and wouldn’t miss it. Some teachers and upperclassmen, however, couldn’t help but miss the old building full of their memories.
Junior Jina Pfeiffer, who has had three siblings attend the high school, said she loved the improvements but worried that it wouldn’t have the same feel as the old building.
“I like the building. The new classrooms, lockers and desks look really nice, but I have so many memories in the old building,” Pfeiffer said. “My family and I just have so many memories in that building that it will be different going here.”
Junior Matt Schmidt, who had two siblings go to the high school, said that he will miss the old building but is ready to create memories in the new building.
“A lot of us grew up with the old building, so we are going to miss it,” Schmidt said. “But the new building is great, and we will make new memories here.”
English teacher Julie Murray, a 1979 graduate of Boulder City High School, said the memories did not outweigh the school’s need for something new.
“I went to school here so I understand some of the apprehension about tearing the old infrastructure down,” Murray said. “I am happy about the new building. We have all this new equipment, and the other building was just too old to keep up with the modern-day needs of students.”
Last year’s valedictorian, Sam Gomez, said he was impressed with the building and was happy his younger sisters will get to go to high school in a better building than he did.
“I think the building looks really nice. It looks different and, of course, newer,” Gomez said. “I don’t have any nostalgia for the old building. I have sisters coming up soon, so I am glad they get to start high school in a brand-new building.”
Councilman Cam Walker wrote in an email that construction of the new school building was long overdue, and he hopes the project’s last two phases will move along much quicker.
“It is about time,” Walker wrote. “Now let’s finish the project and get the last phases complete.”
Phases three and four are estimated to cost $25 million. Phase Three is the construction of a new performing arts center, while Phase Four is the construction of tennis courts as well as a new football and soccer field.
According to Wagner, the last two phases will begin construction in February or March.
Contact reporter Max Lancaster at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @MLancasterBCR.