Mt. Vernon's new high school now open - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Mt. Vernon's new high school now open

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MT. VERNON -- After six years of planning, research, design and construction, the new Mt. Vernon Township High school has opened. 

The building will offer much more to students than just reading, writing and arithmetic. 

Mt. Vernon's new high school fills students like Brendan Cross with hope.

"This school is a new opportunity in life for me and everybody else here. Take advantage of it while you can. This is a whole new world, " said Cross. 

You name it, this school has it.      

"Welding, automotive, maintenance, computer, technician, etc. This school offers those options. It's the way education should be done," said Governor Bruce Rauner. 

That's how Mt. Vernon leaders planned it from the ground up.

The school aims to offer options, so students can narrow their interests.

"They'll find out what they want to do in college. Maybe more importantly, they'll find out what they don't want to do in college," said superintendent Mike Smith. 

Every student will have the opportunity to take classes that teach life skills. 

The facility features a state of the art culinary classroom and one of the best automotive wings in the state. 

Vice Principal Rob Knutson says the school fills a critical Jefferson County need. 

"Community communicates loud and clear what's important to them with investment in dollars," said Knutson. 

The final price tag for the school ran three million dollars over budget.

The superintendent blames fast-rising costs.

"If you take the rate of inflation in construction cost, we are actually under what would have been projected forward cost then what we projected in 2014," said Smith. 

Even so, students and parents seemed impressed and hopeful for the opportunities the new school presents.

"You just need to see it to believe it," said parent Christy Prosise.

The new school will also include a $300,000 greenhouse for the agriculture department to promote more hands on learning.

They hope to have that completed by next spring. 

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