Rowland Unified celebrates new school building at Oswalt Elementary in Walnut
Kevin Despard remembers pedaling his bike up the hill to Oswalt Elementary School. The Rowland Unified campus was an assortment of portable classrooms scattered in the hills of Walnut.
Over the years, portables continued to sprout up in the shade of the school on Shadow Oak Drive. And Despard grew up to become a teacher, then the principal at Oswalt Academy.
Today, the young administrator watches over nearly 1,000 students in kindergarten to eighth grade. But the students still use the temporary portables more than 30 years later.
That changed Wednesday, with the opening of a new $4 million science and middle school building. The academy finally gets a permanent home with a shiny new science lab and nine other classrooms.
"The new building will be great. The staff and students are so excited about our new home," Despard said during a tour of the new facility.
Parents were invited to the grand opening celebration Wednesday afternoon. They had the chance to tour the new science lab as well as the spacious classrooms in the 16,000 square foot building.
"The new lab will give us so much more room for our experiments," explained science teacher Tom Tolliver. "And it will be so much easier to clean up with all the new sinks and lab stations."
Despard said the lab was twice the size of a normal classroom. It featured a large demonstration table in the front with many lab stations along the walls.
A huge learning wall across the front offered lots of storage space for lab equipment.
"Each of the new classrooms also has a digital projector in the ceiling," Despard pointed out.
Students will enter through a central hallway that features a soaring two-story atrium with glass windows along the roofline. The Oswalt Eagles will find their school mascot colorfully embossed in the floor. Click HERE for entire story!