New Joplin school officially opens

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin’s newest school officially opened today, combining West Central and Columbia Elementaries.

The first day of the spring semester is a big deal on North Main Street.

“I really like it,” said Brynn Walters, Joplin Student.

The new gymnasium and playground and cafeteria make up the brand-new Dover Hill Elementary School.

“I like the lights, designs and I like the library, how big it is,” said Paiten Vincent, Joplin Student.

Everything is new on campus and even figuring out where to go for lunch and make it back to class is a challenge.

“In fact, I talked to my fifth-grade teachers this morning and they said their kids were just almost in Shell Shock this morning. Just coming in the size of the rooms and just the how beautiful the campus looks,” said Bret Ingle, Dover Hill Principal.

The footprint is much bigger, more than 70,000 square feet, which means more elbow room for everything from the cafeteria to classrooms.

“We’re going from trailers at one campus to humongous music rooms and art rooms and having a gym that’s available to us at Columbia. We haven’t had a gym available for the last few years,” said Ingle.

There are now options for collaborative learning, including two spaces called “Learning Parks” where classes can combine.

“So we have a couple of spots where if a couple of teachers want to combine their classes to come out, they can work together. We also have collaborative spaces in the backs of each pod of grades,” said Ingle

School history is also front and center, both in a mural in the media center, and a timeline in the cafeteria hallway.

“It’s kind of a map in the background. It shows shots from West Central to Columbia to Dover Hill and it just shows the timeline of both buildings and how they were built and renovated. And then the timeline for construction,” said Ingle.

All leading to the newest nest for these Joplin Eagles.

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