Education by design: Jenks Math and Science Center opens
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Friday, August 19, 2011
8/19/11 at 12:40 PM
Correction: A Friday Tulsa World story incorrectly attributed the drawing of the Vitrubian man. It was a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci. This story has been corrected.
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Eyes swept skyward as Jenks High School students entered the new $22 million Jenks Math and Science Center on the first day of school Thursday.
"Gabby, look at that!" proclaimed one student excitedly, pointing to a 20-by-20-foot mural of Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian man that stretches to the second story. The drawing exemplifies the blend of art and science during the Renaissance.
On the opposite wall is a mural of the Fibo-nacci spiral, a visual interpretation of a mathematical sequence.
"I didn't think it would be this nice really," junior Brandon Hagood said as he surveyed the entryway.
Thursday was the first day of school for Jenks, Owasso and Claremore students. Classes begin Monday for students in Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Tulsa and Union. Broken Arrow students head back to school next Thursday.
The 80,000-square-foot Jenks facility was just completed and funded through a $157 million bond issue passed in December 2008, said Bonnie Rogers, a Jenks Public Schools spokeswoman.
It features a 120-seat planetarium, a two-story greenhouse and an outdoor classroom.
Most high school and Freshman Academy math and science classes will be held in the state-of-the art classrooms and laboratories.
The planetarium will be open to the community as well as students and could feature films on any number of subjects, from planets and stars to human cells.
"The whole building was built to engage students in research," Rogers said.
Equipped with wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps and other energy-saving systems, students will be able to track the building's energy usage online and learn firsthand about energy efficiency.
Equipment in the mechanical rooms are labeled, and doors are clear glass so students can see the operations.
"They can use the building itself as a learning tool," Rogers said.
Maria Fernandez, who teaches advanced environmental science and biotechnology, said she is excited about the possibilities for student projects.
"This allows us to make the learning a lot more relevant and to get students more excited about learning," she said.
Susan Sparks, who teaches Advanced Algebra II and geometry, is excited about areas set aside for teachers to collaborate to improve the learning experience.
"It makes students think that we take care of them and that will help them step up to the plate," she said.
David Beiler, assistant principal and building administrator, said the hope is that students' excitement about the building will translate to excitement about math and science.
"The goal is to pique their interest in math and science," he said. "We hope it ups the level of learning."
Area school start dates
Sand Springs: Monday
Broken Arrow: Aug. 25
Kim Archer 918-581-8315
Students walk through the atrium entrance of the new Math and Science Center at Jenks High School on the first day of school Thursday. Elements of the interior were designed to facilitate a better learning environment, largely through the use of technology. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World
The exterior of Jenks High School's new Math and Science Center is seen on the first day of school Thursday. The building is LEED-certified and features several energy-saving measures, including wind turbines that generate a portion of the building's electricity. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World
The Math and Science Center also features a planetarium that will be open to both student and community use. Its grand opening is scheduled for October. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World
Science laboratories in the new Math and Science Center at Jenks High School feature high-tech equipment and adjustable-height work stations. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World
The Math and Science Center has interior and exterior gardens built into its construction. The indoor garden is irrigated, but the outdoor garden is natural. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World