Orland Unified School District officials are excited about the new science-media building at CK Price Middle School.
Teachers are readying their classrooms, and students will begin attending classes there today.
A ribbon cutting attended by district staff and board members, Orland Chamber of Commerce representatives and other educators officially opened the building Monday.
Also on hand were Richard Horn and Quinn Hogan of R&R Horn Construction whose company built the two-story, 20,000 square-foot building and other well wishers.
Orland Unified Superintendent Chris von Kleist thanked Horn and Hogan again for getting the building finished a head of schedule and under budget in time for the start of school.
Rain delays and the electrocution of a construction worker in a site accident last fall threatened to put off the completion until September or October, von Kleist said, but the contractors worked seven days a week to get it done by August. The worker survived the accident.
Hogan grew up in Orland and attended district schools, so this project was a homecoming for him.
"It's been great being back in the community again," Hogan said. "Orland still has that small-town feel. People in the stores get to know you."
He added he has lived in Chico a number of years and had forgotten Orland's friendliness.
The work "brings back memories," he said, "although I'm tearing down some of the buildings where those memories were, but we are improving the facilities for the future."
R&R Horn built the science and media center at Orland High School, the new CK Price cafeteria and gymnasium and is getting ready to build a new cafeteria and multipurpose room at Mill Street School.
Science teacher and department chair Jason Ovitz is pleased with his second-floor headquarters.
"We have great new facilities we can use to get these kids excited about science and learning in general," Ovitz said. "I can do pretty much anything I want up there. There is a lot of space."
Teacher Sonja Leland will be joining Ovitz in the science laboratory next door.
"I'm really excited for all the new equipment," Leland said. ... It will allow her to do more "hands-on labs and activities" she and her students could not do previously.
Demonstrations with gases, the use of sinks and other activities will broaden the students' learning, she said.
On the first floor, math teacher Rita Nutsche said this is the first time the math department has been housed together ever.
And while her new classroom is a "tad smaller" than her old one, she likes its modern feel, Nutsche said.
"I love the landscaping," she said, noting there was a huge pile of dirt outside her old classroom all last year.
Her student teacher Scott Theilen said it looks nice so far as he cleaned student desks Monday morning.
"This is a beautiful example of what people can do when they put their mind to get something accomplished," Orland Mayor Wade Elliott said. "It is a good thing."
The building also holds the school library and other classrooms for different subjects.
It replaces the old portable classrooms the school used for decades and also an old wing of the middle school that was built 50 to 60 years ago.
Young trees and shrubs have been planted around it, and some of the blacktop nearby was removed and replaced with fresh grass and trees.
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