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Oakwood Adventist Academy celebrates new high school, prepares for safe open

Local leaders at the academy on the campus of Oakwood University say they have safety measures in place to open the new school during the pandemic.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A new high school that took thirty years in the making is set to open its doors to students at the campus of Oakwood University.

On Sunday, administrators and local leaders celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Leaders included Oakwood University President, Dr. Leslie Pollard, House District Representative Laura Hall (Dist. 19), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, and Councilman Will Culver (Dist. 5).

"We are very excited about what God has done for us at Oakwood Adventist Academy" says Oakwood Adventist Academy Building Chairperson, Dr. Carlton Byrd.

The high school building was the third and final phase of completing the academy. The other two were Oakwood Elementary and Middle Schools. The school is more than 20,000 sq ft. and cost $4 million.

"Ironically with COVID-19 being here now, this pandemic, we are equipped and prepared to give and offer traditional education but virtual and online education," says Byrd.

Leaders have considered the safety of students who will return in-person. "This building gives us an opportunity to be able to socially distance our children because the square footage is fantastic," says Oakwood Adventist Academy Principal, Judy Chiles-Dent.

Three-hundred students are currently enrolled in the new school. Some of the features include twelve classrooms, and a new science and technology lab.

Chiles-Dent says the school features markers encouraging social distancing, touchless water fountains, and sanitation stations.

"We also have purchased shields, desk shields for our teachers and our students. We've also have purchased not only masks for our students, but shields," says Chiles-Dent.

Chiles-Dent says school leaders are confident in making sure this environment is conducive to learning.

"Our children will feel real comfortable knowing that we put all measures in place to be able to assist them during this pandemic," added Chiles-Dent.

School is scheduled to start for students August 17th. Enrollment is open to students in the Huntsville community.

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