When the new Wheaton High School opens its doors next year, it will not only be a larger building and home to 250 more students, but the pilot of a new hands-on based learning style that Montgomery County officials say will resemble workplace environments.
"The entire community, including the students, is very excited about the new Wheaton High School," said Gboyinde Onijala, senior communications specialist for Montgomery County Schools.
The 60-year-old building will be replaced by a brand new facility on the former site of the school's athletic fields. Construction began last year on the 332,625-square- foot building, which will feature glass walls, wider hallways, an amphitheater and green roofs. The athletic fields will find their new home on the former site of the old school building. While this swap is taking place, the students are continuing to attend classes in the existing school building. Football, baseball and other games are held on the campuses of neighboring schools.
One of the advantages of the new building is the entrance will be located on Randolph Road, giving the school a prominent spot on the busy Wheaton thoroughfare. This change also will make it easier for students who walk or use public transportation to get inside the school without walking around the athletic fields. The Thomas Edison High School, which is located adjacent to Wheaton High, will also be rebuilt and is expected to reopen in 2018.
Onijala said that the new building is only one of the differences the students will experience. At that time, they also will be introduced to Project Learning, an innovative teaching style that emphasizes how to deal with real life situations, problem-solving and work place issues.
"The students are looking forward to learning coming to life in the classroom," she said.