Making the big move
Virginia Styron, a high school completion instructor for the Washington Kirkwood Regional Center, spent Wednesday afternoon emptying boxes full of books into the new cabinets that had been built along the walls of her new classroom in the new $9 million Kirkwood Regional Center.
She said that the new room on the second floor of the new educational building, which she was occupying, was about twice the size of her former classroom in the building just across the street. On Wednesday, there was a push to move everything out of the former Kirkwood building and into the newly constructed regional center. While all the items have been moved, director Tera Pickens said that she doesn’t believe everything will be unpacked for several days.
“It’s a lot bigger,” Styron said. “Now I have to find a place for everything. It won’t be a problem. I have a lot more space.”
She said the new building, which was over three years in the making, is “fantastic,” with the additional space and the openness of the design. She said that the faculty at the school will now be able to offer more opportunities to students.
People wishing to see the completed product can attend an open house Monday from 4 to 8 p.m. A grand opening will be held in October.
“It is history in the making in Washington County,” Pickens said. “This facility will forever change how and what we can offer for college credit and concurrent credit classes for the community.”
Pickens said that the “big move” into the new building had begun early. Kirkwood members had begun the day with the educator breakfast at Washington High School and then quickly moved to the old building to make sure everything was packed and ready to go. By about 3:30 p.m. most of the equipment from the former building was in the new 40,000 square foot building.
“The buildings will be for sale – both that building and the ASSURE Center,” Pickens said of the former Kirkwood building. “It is not listed yet, but we aren’t going to use it anymore, so we are going to sell it.”
In the rooms and hallways, contractors still worked to put the finishing touches on the building. LuAnn Mauser, IT systems coordinator, worked in the welding lab setting up computers in a classroom to simulate welding. She said that this is the point where getting ready is a little overwhelming, but it happens every year about this time.
“We just take one computer at a time and pray they work,” she said.
Chad Dillon, a former ASSURE Center educator, said along with the move, the name of the ASSURE Center would change. It is now Washington Regional Alternative Program (WRAP).
“We have eight students who are going to be taking academy classes,” he said. “In the past it has usually only been one or two students that would take college classes. This year we had eight students who said they wanted to take the academies and I was really impressed and proud of them.”
Kierstan Peck only started her job as career development coordinator about six months ago, so she didn’t unpack because she knew that the move was coming. Today she only had to move a box full of her belongings into her car and drive it across the road to the new school.
“This is something I have looked forward to since I started the position last January,” she said. “I an just excited to get settled and get students in here on Aug. 24.”
Pickens said the community support for the new building has been “amazing.” She said that the endowed scholarship campaign to aid local students had already raised over $100,000.