LAWRENCEVILLE -- Students at the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology roamed the halls of their new academic home Saturday.
The new building in Lawrenceville, which will open this summer, was toured by current GSMST students and their family members. Since the school opened three years ago, it has been housed on the Duluth High School campus.
"I am truly excited. This marks the second chapter of what we're doing," said Marcus Raimondi, a rising senior. "It's such a fitting place for us. It feels like we finally got a true home."
The five-story building, located on the corner of McElvaney Road and Old Norcross Road in Lawrenceville, contains more than two dozen different types of labs in addition to classrooms.
"It's almost overwhelming. It's so big," Raimondi said. "Everything feels so new and clean.
The school was built with instruction in mind, principal Jeff Mathews said.
"It's not about bricks and mortar," he said. "It's about the facility being a learning tool for our kids."
GSMST was designed to nurture the talents of academically talented students through a challenging, unique and integrated curriculum. The school's academic program focuses on mathematics and scientific inquiry and discovery in three broad focus areas: engineering, bioscience and emerging technologies.
"This building, it really exceeds my expectations," junior Afshan Dosani said. "There are so many things administrators thought of to improve our learning."
In many ways, the new building resembles a typical school. It has lockers, a cafeteria, a gymnasium and, of course, classrooms. It's the details of the classrooms that set the school apart.
For example, in many rooms, the students will have easy access to electrical outlets to charge their school-provided laptops. In classrooms known as "X-rooms," the arrangement of the desks -- four long tables that can accommodate six students each arranged in an X-shape -- was designed to promote student-centered instruction and students' engagement in learning, Mathews said.
"I really think that this building represents a culmination of what we've been working (toward) for three years," said Nikhil Lakhanpal, an 11th-grader. "It's been a long road, but it's been one worth traveling. ... It was worth the wait."