A new 38-room classroom complex at Righetti High School in Orcutt.
A new 38-room classroom complex got its first use by teachers and students Monday at Righetti High School in Orcutt. (Contributed photo)

For students and teachers at Righetti High School in Orcutt, Monday meant a step into the future.

The school’s new 38-room classroom complex saw its first set of students and a teacher hold lessons in the three-story facility, with others expected to start inhabiting the building in the next several weeks. 

“It was amazing to see the enthusiastic expressions on the kids’ faces this morning,” Principal Karen Rotondi said. “This 21st-century learning environment is essential to student success and a great addition to the community.’’

The complex incorporates tools from the district’s “classroom of the future.” Features include moveable white-board walls, mounted big screen monitors with the capacity to display from the teacher’s tablet, desks and chairs on wheels that separate easily into different arrangements, and other learning aids.

“Honestly, this is really cool,” senior Andres Herrera said. “It’s bigger than I expected. I’m kinda bummed I’ll be moving on before I get to really enjoy it.’’

Freshman Elijah Arredondo praised the windows and large flat screen TVs included in the design. 

“The technology is going to make learning a lot easier,” Arredondo said. 

Funds from Measure C, approved by voters in 2004, paid for the $24 million project that was designed to boost permanent classroom space, eliminate portable classrooms and advance new technology, according to Santa Maria Joint Union High School District officials. 

“As a result of community support for our school bonds, we are excited to bring permanent state-of-the-art classrooms to the Righetti campus,’’ said district board member Dominick Palera. 

Students attend their first classes Monday in the new 38-room classroom complex at Righetti High School in Orcutt.

Students attend their first classes Monday in the new 38-room classroom complex at Righetti High School in Orcutt. (Contributed photo)

“Over the next three years, we will see this building open, the remaining classrooms renovated, and the portables removed to reclaim campus parking,” Palera said. “This project will benefit students, staff and the community.’’

Construction for the new classroom complex started after a February 2017 groundbreaking ceremony.

The Righetti classroom complex is one of several projects recently completed or under way for the high school district.

Last summer, officials gathered for the Career Technical Education Center/Ag Farm groundbreaking ceremony on 25 acres near the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center. 

That high school facility will have numerous animal pens, livestock corrals, barns and farming land. The site also will include classrooms, a commercial kitchen and a pavilion.

In October 2017, Pioneer Valley High School celebrated the opening of its new performing arts center. And two years earlier, Santa Maria High School saw the completion of its new classroom building. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.