Greene County Schools Have New Changes for Students

August 19, 2004 -- Posted at 10:45 a.m. CDT

GREENE COUNTY -- Returning to classes this year in Greene County could have some students confused.  That's because both Paragould High School and Greene County Tech have some exciting new changes for students.

Paragould Deputy Superintendent Richard Shelby said, "We're excited about the changes, our staff's excited and hopefully the kids will be too, when they get back to us."

Kids at Paragould High School will be coming back to a new science and technology center, and a new athletic complex.

"We've added a new choir, we've completely renovated the band facility, added a double practice gym. So on this campus alone, yes, there's been an extensive amount of work done over the last couple of years," said Shelby.

Lots of changes for a campus already under construction.

"The new field that we're putting in, that's behind the times, so we're going to go back to Harmon and play there another season or part of a season and if the rain will stop, we'll get on the field before the season is over," said Shelby.

The Paragould School District has nearly 3,000 students.  And to keep an eye on all of them, plans are to install a video surveillance security system later this year.

"It's simply another technology that can be used to help teachers teach and principals manage. We're going to use it as a preventive tool," said Shelby, "The thought is that 75-80% kids if they know they're going to be on camera, they're going to behave themselves. They're not going to do some of the things that they might would do. You can't have a teacher in every corner of the building, but you can have a camera."

And youngsters at Greene County Tech Primary will be starting classes in a whole new building today.

"It's going to be a real user friendly school. The halls are color-coded. All the administrative office, gymnasium, and personal the halls are green. Then each of the different grade levels are a different color," said Principal Joe Ed Smith.

The 96,000 square foot building will house nearly 900 pre-schoolers to second graders.

"The idea was to take the smaller children off the main campus to alleviate traffic problems, and I think we're going to do that. The city has put in a left hand turn lane for us," said Smith.

Workers and teachers have been working around the clock to put the finishing touches on the new $7 million dollar project...and it's almost ready.

"On Sunday, the 22nd, were going to have a grand opening. At that point in time we should have everything complete but the gym floor," said Smith.

The project has been three years in the making and Principal Smith says the wait has been worthwhile.

"We hope that this is the best possible facility that we can provide for the students of the Greene County Tech School District. We hope that we have spent the tax payers money wisely, and we hope that this building gives the district fifty years of good service," said Smith.