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SEAS starts new school year with renovated science lab

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s renovated science lab has brand new floors, tables, stools, cabinet and sink.

When students walk into Stephanie Hagan’s classroom at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton this year, they will feel like they are entering a science lab.

“It feels like you’re in a science classroom and that’s what we lacked before, so I think it’s going to get the kids more excited,” said Hagan, the middle school science teacher at SEAS.

Over the summer, Hagan’s classroom received some upgrades including a brand new floor, an extra sink, new cabinets that lock, and stain and scratch resistant tables and stools.

Hagan said she thinks the new space opens doors for incorporating new projects into her lessons.

“Last year there were some labs where you were supposed to light a candle and have that on for a little while, and being in a room with carpeting just made me a little nervous,” Hagan said.

Now the new tables and floors allow less of a safety hazard.

Dan Kohler, the facilities manager at SEAS, said the new flooring is commercial luxury vinyl tile.

“It’s a no maintenance floor so there’s no waxing, no stripping, no anything to do with it,” he said.

It also has 15-year lifetime warranty. If anything were to happen to the flooring, Kohler said they could replace an area with extra sections of the floor they have in storage.

The upgrades were a result of the SEAS Spring Fling, an event the school utilizes to raise funds to be used in a way that wouldn’t normally come out of the budget. Last year they used the funds to build the new playground, and this year they chose to raise money for a science lab.

Spring Fling co-chairs Sheila Hedin and Sarah Schweiger said the event raised about $35,000 for the science lab renovations.

SEAS principal Tim Sullivan said SEAS has a great science program, and the renovation of the science lab is going to help education in the classroom by not being limited by the space and saving time.

“It starts with a great teacher and then what tools we can give that great teacher to make the program even better,” Sullivan said.

While the science lab’s new space will help the program excel, Sullivan said the renovations aren’t the only thing the Spring Fling money will go toward.

“The science lab is just the big ticket item, but there’s still a lot of smaller ones we haven’t even started ordering yet,” Sullivan said.

After the discussion about a science lab, the conversation was opened up to other teachers in the school to see what science items they may want as well. Sullivan said they hope to incorporate a program called Dash and Dot where students use code to problem solve mazes and obstacles. Some of the classes also requested lego building sets to go along with some curriculum.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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