Public gets first sneak peek inside the new Morris School

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - For the very first time, the public got to take a peek inside the new Morris School, that will house students ranging from Pre-K to 8th grade.

While the public got to browse around the complex, Huntsville City Schools Director of Construction Jeff Gattis gave WHNT News 19 a behind the scenes tour of the new facility.

If you're familiar with the Whitesburg School, it's very similar.

“We just moved a few things around to make them more user-friendly. Now that we’ve lived in one we know what works so we made a few adjustments," said Gattis.

The cafeteria serves as the center of the building, and can fit 350 students at a time.

“We’ve got a stage up there, and they’ll have a projector and all that kind of stuff so they can have events," said Gattis.

Keeping up with the times, what you and I may have called a library, is now called the Media Center.

"We’ll have lots of books in the center with a teaching space on each end," he said.

Down the activities hall is the gymnasium that will house hundreds of screaming basketball fans, or the entire population of the school if severe weather strikes.

“It’s built to withstand 250 mph winds, an EF 5 Tornado," said Gattis.

Technology is integrated into every facet of the building, including several security checks right at the front door.

“Then you get in here to the security bubble and you still have to be buzzed into the next door so third level of security," he said.

Those safety precautions extend throughout the building, and into the classroom.

“Every classroom has access to an exit without having to go into the corridor so if you get a bad guy inside, you lock down the school, every door has an electronic lock on it, and every kid has an access to an outside exit," explained Gattis.

This project is extra special to Gattis. He's a proud alumnus.

“I graduated from Madison Pike Elementary, and Mr P.J. Morris was the principal when I was here," he said.

True to his profession, he's incredibly excited to say goodbye to the old, and embrace the new.

After school dismisses for the summer, the district will remove what they want to keep from the old Morris Elementary and then tear it down to make room for expanded parking, playgrounds and a track around the football field.

Demolition is set for June 1, 2017.