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First Look Inside New Johnston School

JOHNSTON, Iowa – A new school is set to open on time for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Johnston Early Learning Academy and Wallace Elementary School will share a building holding around 1,000 students ranging from preschool to fifth grade.

The school is located off of Northwest 62nd Ave, next to Johnston Middle School.

Director of Project Management David Dominguez said there will be two separate wings for the schools.

“The preschool is going to have pods that have pods on the exterior. It’s going to have a big community space in the middle where they can have activities and different learning opportunities,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the building will have sliding glass walls to enlarge classes when need be or close off rooms and have more of a tradition learning environment.

“Instead of being at your desk, there will be a little place where you could go, kind of like a cubby, just a little nook where you could sit down with a book, read and enjoy the space. A lot of really interesting lighting. Everything is just going to be helping to get them want to learn in those spaces and be able to see outside,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the exterior structure was originally built in the 1980s. However, the interior is being built for the 21st century.

"We are reconfiguring all of the rooms, so the walls are not going back in the same place," Dominquez said.

There are around 53 rooms in the school. The school is estimated to hold around 750 elementary students and 250 preschool students.

Director of Johnston Early Learning Academy Joy Palmer said anyone in the metro can register their child for the preschool. However, the parents or guardians will have to provide the transportation.

“The principal of Wallace Elementary and myself are working hard, collaborating on ways that we are really going to eliminate those boundaries. We are going to see a lot of project-based learning opportunities where multiple ages are interacting with each other,” Palmer said.

Palmer said the idea is to have an open community between the grade levels.

The new learning academy will be able to hold more students than ever before.

“We currently have eight sites for the Johnston Early Learning Academy. We are going to pull five of those sites into one,” Palmer said.

Parents can begin registering their students starting January 24th at 8:00 a.m.

The school is estimated to cost around $16 million.