Dr. Robert McClure got his first look at the new Gwinnett County high school that bears his name and was in awe.
“I couldn’t have envisioned a better legacy,” said McClure, a former school board member and local physician, as he toured the school recently. “This is truly a world-class facility.”
With a price tag of more than $38 million, the facility is located on more than 17 acres of land in Duluth. That’s plenty of room for the current enrollment of 632 students, with space for many more.
The school’s curriculum boosts three areas of concentration in the health fields, including clinical, medical support and health information technology.
“We have a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum through the lens of health science,” said Principal Nicole Mosley. “Our goal is to prepare students for a successful collegiate experience and post-secondary career.”
She recently led a tour of the new school for board members, community stakeholders and media.
Students are required to complete core classes — math, science, language arts and social studies. But they also have the opportunity to get started on a career before they graduate from high school.
Unlike Paul Duke STEM that opened last year, McClure has a senior class.
And like Duke, there are no competitive sports teams — just intramural activity. But that doesn’t mean students are expected to sit around.
The more than 300,000 square-foot school has a gymnasium, large activity room and a dance studio to encourage fitness.
On Fridays, staff will be led by exercise experts in a variety of workouts. There will also be occasions for the community to join in.
And just as important as physical exercise, students will be encouraged to explore creative outlets with visual and performing arts instruction. There are theater, band and orchestra offerings.
But when it’s time to study health science, the facilities rival many post-secondary programs.
With three large lectures halls that have adjoining collaborative spaces, students can engage in hands-on and virtual training in several areas. One goal of the school is to have just about every student certified in phlebotomy — drawing blood for medical testing. It’s one of the first stages of nursing study.
School officials would also like to see students trained in CPR. A row of test dummies laid waiting for instruction as guests marveled at the level of detail in the medical classes.
“These simulators are so advanced that students can check vital signs and practice patient care,” said Meridith Watts, the school health science coordinator.
At Thursday’s school board meeting, McClure High received more good news: It has been selected for a national grant to support the first three years of operations. NewSchools Venture Fund is a national philanthropic organization.
The launch grant is $645,000, coupled with an additional $215,000 planning grant for a total of $860,000 awarded to Gwinnett, said Jonathan Patterson, associate superintendent for curriculum and instructional support.
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