Hundreds attend Northview Academy open house

May. 29, 2013 @ 11:59 PM

Hundreds of students and their families flooded the halls of Northview Academy Tuesday evening, as an open house heralded the school's official opening in August for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Constructed for grades 7-12, the school will first open for grades 7-9, with higher grades added over the next couple of years. Its 187,000 square were was built to serve approximately 1,100-1,200 students.

The majority of students will come from the Catlettsburg and Northview communities. Northview Middle will become an intermediate school for grades 4-6, while Northview Primary will now house grades K-3.

"We are delighted with the large turnout for open house at Northview Academy. People seemed excited about the opening of the school," said vice-superintendant Dr. Debra Cline. "We look forward to the official opening in late summer and the rich learning opportunites for the young people in the Northview and Catlettsburg communities."

Indeed, both students and teachers alike expressed enthusiasm about the new facility and the changes being made.

School librarian Jean Ann Barnes, who has been the librarian at Northview Middle for 13 years, said, "The community has waited a long time for this. I can't think of anything nicer for these kids. We have teachers from Catlettsburg, Northview, and Sevier County High School, so it's a nice melting pot of teachers as well."

Beth Richards, who will teach 9th grade geography at the school, is excited about the new learning environment, and about the the opportunity to work with her sister, Brooke Wilhart, who will coach the girl's basketball team. "We're fortunate to get this. The opportunity these kids will have is incredible," she said. "Everyone's so excited about the opportunity to start from scratch and mold how the school will run."

Allyson Bilas, who will be a ninth grader at the Academy next year, said, "I love it. It's awesome." Bilas said what she is most looking forward to is the school's drama program.

Drama students and others will have an opportunity to meet in the expansive auditorium, which will hold 975 removable seats.

Eighth grade language arts and drama teacher Kristie Wallace said that the auditorium is "hands down" her favorite feature of the new school. "I just envision music, theatrics, and special effects. There's a big screen that can also be used," she said. "We will collaborate with band, art, and other departments to do big productions."

Wallace will leave Northview Middle to pursue her new post at the Academy this fall. In addition to working with drama, Wallis is also the Beta Club, Interact and yearbook sponsor for the middle school. "We've had to share the gym with sports for so long," she said. "We're excited that we all have our own space."

Taylor Thick, a seventh grader who currently plays volleyball and basketball, looks forward to "playing a lot of sports and just having fun being here."

Although the students had already toured the school previously, yesterday evening offered many parents a first glance at the new facility. "It was great to see the students guiding their parents," Cline said.

There are only a few minor details to work out before school opens in August. "Principal Clark is still in the process of finalizing and developing things and making sure the faculty is in place," Cline said.

The school system is awaiting the delivery of new furniture, although some items will be moved from seventh and eighth grade classrooms at Catlettsburg and Northview Middle.

"It's a great opportunity to do wonderful things, and the school has been planned and developed in a way that truly supports teaching," said Cline. "We're excited about the opportunites that will be offered to the children. It's all about the children." n

jfrye@themountainpress.com