New learning spaces at Ottawa Hills High School

Ottawa Hills students went back to class last week, and those at the high school returned to some big upgrades.
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 5:58 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A brand new school year comes with a new and improved learning facility for students at Ottawa Hills High School

The new facility is something to behold as it resembles what you’d find on a college campus.

Dr. Adam Fineske, Superintendent for Ottawa Hills Schools said an upgrade was necessary.

“Really, that feeling of meeting every kid’s needs at a different level is bigger than ever,” Dr. Fineske said.

Now, Ottawa Hills is better equipped to do that, thanks to this $8.5 million project.

Dr. Fineske told 13abc, “Coming out of COVID, we learned so much about kids and how they’re learning. and it’s way different than before the pandemic.”

The district is calling the new and improved learning space the Foundry.

Dr. Fineske said the name was proposed by a student. Foundry is another name for a factory for merging and casting metals, much like the collaboration that happens here. The new space, formerly an unused courtyard offers areas for students to work and learn together with new technology.

“We have a 360° immersion classroom. We’re the only high school in the country to have one of those,” Dr. Fineske said.

Danny Assi is a senior at Ottawa Hills High School. Right now, he’s working on an internship on transformational learning and finding new ways for students to learn.

So, he helps with creating a team of tutors and study tables in the new space.

“You get a little bit of both worlds,” Assi said. “You have this open, collaborative space in the middle, and you also have the small, mini rooms where you can go if you just want to get work done by yourself. I think the writing on the walls is such a cool thing because you can have a group of 4 to 5 students working on a math problem together, as opposed to maybe 1-2 writing on a piece of paper.”

Besides new areas to study, the project included the installation of other upgrades to learning areas.

“We have re-invented our science areas into a brand new science research corridor. And also, we’re building a whole new art wing with two new classrooms and a maker place.,” Dr. Fineske said.

Students will also have access to technical support. Dr. Fineske said the service is called “Tech Doctor”, and it’s “kind of like a Genius Bar at the Apple Store. It’s open for our kids to get tech support all day.”

Eventually, The Foundry will also feature a café where students will be able to purchase coffee, smoothies, and other snacks. And while the learning commons is open to students during the school day, it’ll also have extended hours.

“School starts at 8 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. but we know that learning doesn’t stop, and our kids need support past the school day.” So, Dr. Fineske said it will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., and students will be able to be there “between their practices and rehearsals and events.”

Ottawa Hills administrators will hold a ribbon cutting for all of these spaces next week.

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