A new state-of-the-art elementary school in Temple has opened its doors.
Thornton Elementary School on Cottonwood Lane welcomed in its first set of students on Aug. 28. The new school is replacing the nearly 60-year-old school on Pin Oak Drive.
“It was nice to be able to take the tradition of the 60-year-old Thornton and bring it over to a new building. We’ve had so many parents who’ve actually graduated from here, so they get to experience the whole new Thornton," Principal Craig Wilson said.
Outside, it looks like most schools. But inside, it's a whole new world of learning.
"When we were looking at this building, we were thinking, 'This building is going to be here for another 60 to 80 years. What can we do?" Wilson said.
Wilson and his team worked hard for about two years to see their dream design for this state-of-the-art school come true.
"Every day was like Christmas, walking out and seeing a new building just being constructed in front of our eyes," he said.
The new school has some modern features, including a geothermal system that helps cool the school with no help from traditional air conditioners.
"It takes the heat from a classroom, goes down 300 hundred feet into the ground, dissipates the heat out, brings the cool water back up to circulate into the rooms to cool them down," Wilson said.
There are also several murals that pay homage to Central Texas, including one of the hill country and another of Lake Belton. Wilson said they're trying to bring the outside inside.
"At the head of each one of our classroom wings, we have matched the color of the hallways with one of our native wildflowers above it," he said.
The school even has an eco-garden, which is equipped with a wind turbine, a solar panel, and a water system.
"Even though the kids may start in one area, then they go into our eco-garden. They go into the amphitheater out in the gym. Or they can go into the library," he said.
Wilson said he's received positive feedback.
"These parents keep coming up to me and saying, 'My kid's so excited about science this year,'" he said.
The school took about 11 months to build. About 750 students and 85 staff members make their way inside each day.
Wilson said the district plans to tear the old school down and build a park.
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