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6/18/2013 10:43:00 AM
Williams High School puts Coconino Community College building back in use
Williams High School students taking college level classes will soon fill the empty desks at the Coconino Community College building. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Williams High School students taking college level classes will soon fill the empty desks at the Coconino Community College building. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

After years of little use, the Coconino Community College (CCC) building will again be home to students taking college level courses this fall.

Williams High School (WHS) teachers Heather Walker, who teaches U.S. history and U.S. government, and Ann Wells, who teaches junior and senior English classes, are moving their classrooms into the building.

Students can earn six college credits by dual enrolling in Walker's U.S. history class and three college credits by dual enrolling in Wells' college composition class.

In 2002, CCC began offering classes in the building as a satellite campus, but enrollment was lower than officials anticipated. The CCC District Governing Board and the Williams Unified School District Governing Board both approved an amended lease agreement for the building in February. Under the agreement, CCC will give the building to the district as a gift but will maintain some signage on the building.

WHS Principal Tristan Heisley said staff is calling the CCC building the "WHS annex." The district will build a sidewalk leading from the main high school building to the annex.

"The plan with that is all upperclassmen at some point in the day will go up there and it will kind of be a collegiate atmosphere up there where they take college classes and it can kind of just be a different world for them up there, kind of be a bridge between high school and college if they're going that way," Heisley said.

Besides the two classrooms, the building will have a computer lab for the upperclassmen to use.

"They'll be getting a lot of time on the computers doing reports and doing that kind of stuff," Heisley said. "It's going to be a really good environment for our upperclassmen."

Staff has arranged the schedules so students will have history and English in the annex back to back, to minimize walking back and forth between the annex and main high school building.

The district's original plan was to move the science department to the CCC building. However, retrofitting the building for science labs would have cost about $100,000, Heisley said.

With Walker and Wells teaching in the annex, the district had extra classroom space in the main high school building. The district is converting two classrooms into a chemistry lab and a biology lab. The high school did not offer chemistry last year because of its lack of lab space.

Workers are putting sinks in the classrooms and putting in piping for water and gas.

"It's a lot of little stuff but it's going to add up to major change," Heisley said. "Our kids are going to have a totally different science setup next year."

Staff is also writing a grant that would allow for a greenhouse outside of the biology classroom and lab.

"It should be pretty cool," Heisley said of the possible greenhouse. "Without spending a lot of money, we're making major upgrades in the science department."

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