As Carroll High School biology teacher Michelle Markert prepared her classroom for the new school year, dozens of community members passed through the halls Friday, marveling at the new school.
Corpus Christi ISD held a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the completion of the new school at the corner of Kostoryz Road and Saratoga Boulevard and to introduce the building to the community Friday before students return to class. The new campus will replace the 65-year-old building at Weber Road and Tiger Lane.
"The students of Carroll High School are very much looking forward to starting our school year this Tuesday in this very building," senior and superintendent student ambassador Xavier Ruiz said. "It will be a great place to learn and grow with friends and teachers."
Markert, who has taught at Carroll for 22 years, is just as excited.
"It's amazing," Markert said of the building. "It's modern, clean, sleek, functional."
Scattered throughout the building are collaboration spaces, where teachers can take students out of the classroom and into common areas decked out with couches and whiteboards.
The spaces are also big enough for multiple classes to use at the same time, a design feature included to encourage collaboration and joint activities.
Carroll senior Isaiah Gomez, one of several students leading tours through the new building Friday, said the collaborative learning spaces are his favorite part of the campus.
"It really adds spice," Gomez said.
Superintendent Roland Hernandez said the campus will serve the community in addition to students.
"I can't wait to see what events we enjoy in this very space," Hernandez said in the school gym during the event. "For example, we have room for 4,000, which sounds like an exciting game, an energizing concert or a graduation ceremony for one of our smaller programs."
The old school was an outdoor wing campus, with students passing between buildings throughout the school day. The new campus is enclosed, allowing for a more secure campus.
The outdoor nature of the old campus is simultaneously something that teachers and students say they will miss the most and the least.
"I'll miss being able to go outside and get that fresh air," Gomez said.
But walking outdoors was not comfortable in the heat, cold or rain, Gomez said.
"One thing I won't miss is the outdoors," senior Jovanni Carrillo said.
One of Carrillo's favorite parts of the new school is a large rotunda, which has circular lights on top. She also appreciates the collaborative learning spaces, saying they reflect the trust school staff places in students.
"They trust us to work," Carrillo said.
The school features many windows and bright light fixtures. Throughout the school, blue tiger murals decorate the walls. The school also brought a piece of the old campus to the new location — a 1,000-pound anchor that has been with the school since 1959.
"That first graduating class, a tradition was born where each class adds a link to the anchor," Principal Robert Arredondo said. "We just happen to now be a maritime school."
The new school will also offer new programs, including dental and maritime classes.
Markert said the most important piece of the school community was also brought to the new campus — the people.
"A building is a building," Markert said. "We brought our family, and to me that's the most important thing."
This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Here's what's inside the new Carroll High School