Anticipation builds for opening of new Benton High School

"We have teachers ready, we have students ready. Teaching and learning will happen Day One.”

"Teaching and learning will happen Day One" at new Benton High, principal says

BENTON, La. (KSLA) — A $47 million high school in Benton will open its doors to students for the first time Aug. 7.

But if you drive by now, you might wonder whether it will be ready for the first day of classes for Bossier Parish public school students.

Michele Skipper said she asked that very thing when visiting the school office to pick up some materials.

“They said you’d be surprised what they can get done in a day. So, they’ve got a few more days.”

And Teri Howe, the school’s principal, has a message for anyone with the same question.

“My answer to them is we have teachers ready, we have students ready. Teaching and learning will happen Day One.”

There’s a bit of a perception problem on another matter, whether the school will be at capacity when it opens.

Bossier School District leaders say that’s simply not the case.

The 200,000-square-foot school features 61 standard classrooms, art and media production rooms and chemistry and biology laboratories.

School officials expect roughly 1,200 to 1,300 people on campus on the first day, and the campus has a capacity of 1,470 students and staffers, said Keith Norwood, supervises the School District’s planning and construction.

“We have a footprint here for growth where we can add a wing in the future,” he explained.

Howe said one of her favorite spots on campus is the commons area.

“It’s big, but it’s still homey because that’s kind of what we’re known for is being that homey school," she said.

"And it brings our Tiger Pride and our love for these kids and one another. They still get to see each other, yet it’s not so big that they get lost.”

If you find yourself thinking the Benton High campus looks similar to the relatively new Parkway High, that’s not your imagination.

KSLA News 12 was told that the School District saved plenty by using much of Parkway High’s layout with some adjustments to put Benton High’s signature on its new home.

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