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New schools open to public tours

By KBell
Aug. 18, 2010 at 3:18 a.m.

Reynal Trujillo, her nephew, Alex, and her daughter, Ashley, who will be attending the 6th grade, descend the stairway at Cade Middle School during Thursday's VISD tour of the new schools. The large window lets in plenty of light and frames up the background vista of northwest Victoria.

BY THE NUMBERSSquare feet in the high schools: 276,000

Predicted cost of both high school constructions: $85.8 million

Square feet in Cade Middle School: 119,600:

Predicted cost of Cade Middle School:$18.3 million:

Source: www.visd.com

The floors of Victoria's two new high schools and Cade Middle school got their first of many scuffs Wednesday night.

Foot traffic was heavy at Victoria West High School, with students, parents, teachers and members of the public showing up for tours between 5 and 8 p.m.

On the third floor, Kay Newyear looked into the library below with her husband and one of her twin daughters, Brittany, who's going to be a freshman.

"We're out of breath," Newyear joked after having toured the whole building. "They're going to keep us in shape, I'm afraid."

Brittany said she will probably get lost in the new high school at first, but she already has a class route planned.

Her schedule requires her to travel from the third floor to the first floor, then the second, Brittany said.

"I wonder if that will qualify for a PE credit," her mom joked.

Despite the overwhelming size of the building, Brittany said she was excited to be one of the first freshman to spend all four years at West.

She said the school took photos of the incoming freshmen in caps and gowns, which serve as an inspiration for students to brave the stairs all four years and graduate.

"It's pretty exciting, but definitely tiring from all the walking," Brittany's sister, Brea, said.

The sisters, both cheerleaders, said they were sad their squad from Howell Middle School had to be broken up into two high schools.

They said the East/West rivalry has already affected some old friendships, but they're looking on the bright side.

"The lunch lines won't be as long as they used to be," Brea said.

Their mother said her only concern with the new school was the traffic that the one entrance and exit on U.S. Highway 87 would create.

"But at the same time, they can monitor who comes in and out and keep tabs on the activity in the school," she said. "I'll have to admit, it was money well-spent."

Just across the parking lot at Cade Middle School, Sue Gotte said she was scoping out how her tax dollars were spent.

Gotte, 69, voted to fund the schools and said she was pleased with the outcome.

"I'm all for the kids having something decent," Gotte said after touring both campuses. "I'm proud for the kids. They're going to be so excited."

The principal of Cade Middle School, Lisa Blundell, said she'd seen more than 200 people tour the building, many of whom were grandparents.

"They want to make sure this is going to be a positive place for their most precious resource," Blundell said of the grandparents with whom she had spoken.

Cade's assistant principal, Jason Demmer, added how thankful he was the community supported building the new schools.

"It's hard to really put into words," Demmer said. "It's a real blessing for the students of Victoria to have an opportunity like this."

Even considering the sprawling lunch rooms, the brand new gyms and the cutting edge technology, Demmer said the most important part of the school is the people in it.

"It's the devotion the teachers have to the kids," Demmer said. "What it really boils down to is the kids."

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