MILTON-FREEWATER - People gathered last night at McLoughlin High School for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house to officially announce the completion of a new math wing.

At the same time, the community was afforded a look at the old math wing, which will become a new high school science department as of the 2008-09 school year.

Five math classrooms were built above the cafeteria, which also was revamped with a new floor. The floor, which sports the Mac-Hi Pioneers logo in school colors, was completed last month.

The math classrooms were built in dead space above the cafeteria. Multiple stairwells and an elevator take students to large airy classrooms, some of which are lined with dozens of computers.

"It's going to be beautiful," said Mac-Hi science teacher Michelle Snyder.

Snyder, who has worked at the high school for 11 years, said space has been at a premium.

During the open house, Snyder took visitors through the science wing, which is under-construction. The wing will include four classroom/laboratories branching off into a large teachers' area.

"I'm very excited about it," she said of the wing, which should open next fall.

In other business, the board:

?Decided to arrange a meeting with the Milton-Freewater City Council to discuss mutual issues, including failed school bond measures.

?Reviewed findings by Chris Cockburn, who reported a clean audit for the 2005-06 fiscal year.

?Discussed issues of air quality and additions to Freewater Elementary School. The school apparently suffers from air quality issues that cannot effectively be addressed without new construction or substantial remodeling. Options considered by the school board include demolishing the 1909 building and the addition of modular buildings.

?Decided to approach the city about having Northwest Seventh Avenue, which divides the Freewater school yard and consists of aging asphalt, removed.

"We'd like to take the asphalt out and replace it with grass," McBride said. "It's in terrible repair, we're tripping over it in the school yard."

The street runs across the property and is not being used as a thoroughfare.

?McBride also asked the school board for a ceiling amount on funds available for use on upgrading Freewater school. Modulars are being brought in to deal with overcrowding and other issues and school officials are trying to determine whether to add 10 or 14 classroom units to the school.

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