WILLISTON, N.D. --- A new $70 million, technology-savvy, three-story Williston High School has opened its doors.

Teachers moved into the 225,000 square-foot building sitting on almost 40 acres earlier this month, but the school's 1,200 students moved in this week to the 50 classrooms, designed with technology in mind.



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"We might need another elementary school," Campbell said about the growing enrollment, which he said "is and isn't a surprise."

Despite the slowdown in the oil fields surrounding the city, he said although many single, younger workers may have left the oil rigs, many families have stayed.

Not only that, but he said there about 500 job openings in the city-and "they are good jobs, too," he said.

The new high school may or may not be big enough, he said half jokingly. It is the new jewel in the school district, though, with banks of glass windows offering spectacular views, and not just to the outside.

And everything - literally everything - is new, from the gymnasium to the field turf on the football field to the Coyote Cafe, featuring signs that tell students to "Relax" and "Enjoy."

The school is definitely in the tech world now too as the school has a "bring your own device" system with each student having a laptop with the entire school wired.

Another example of technology is the vocational courses offered in meatcutting, diesel mechanics and oil production prep classes.

Campbell said those student taking the oil classes can go directly to work in the oil fields after high school if they so desire and the program is certified.

Students were getting their first look at the sparkling new school this week. Paige O'Neill and Kailey Woodhams, both seniors, came in Tuesday to find their classrooms ahead of the first-day chaos on Wednesday..

Both girls had positive opinions on the new building, saying they liked the new, sleek look.

"I like how the desks are all the same; it makes the school look more pulled together and organized," Woodhams said, adding that the size of the three-story structure will take some getting used to.

"I think it's just a little bit more confusing than our old school," she said.

O'Neill pointed out that more space seems to have eliminated the need for shared rooms.

"Every teacher has their own classroom here," she said.

Indeed, there are those 50 classrooms, along with various rooms where teachers can work or collaborate.

The school is divided into three main sections, one for the gym, one for art, music, theater and administration and one for the classrooms.

On Tuesday morning Elizabeth Eslinger, 14, knelt in the hall by her locker, figuring out how to

work the lock. When asked her thoughts on the new school, her response was one word: "Big."

 

Elizabeth Hackenburg of the Williston Herald contributed to this report