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Viewpoint: Supt. says: 'Taj Mahal? I don't think so!'

Very recently an article was written in a metro newspaper where East Ridge High School was referred to as the "Taj Mahal." Get real! This could not be further from the truth.

East Ridge is a new high school. It is being built in 2009 to 2009 standards. One should be very careful before comparing a new facility to one of our older facilities. Building codes have changed, learning practices have changed, technology is much more pervasive in education, and the list goes on.

We are not building a facility for 1965 or 1975, we are building a facility for the 21st century.

At the same time we have upgraded our other two high schools. We have invested over $25 million at Park High School and another $19 million at Woodbury High School.

These investments have been made to upgrade both of these schools and to give our students up-to-date, equal educational opportunities no matter where they go to school in District 833. I am extremely proud of the work done at both Park and Woodbury High Schools.

About 23 years ago, our youngest child was born. It was a very exciting time in our lives. Friends and relatives came to visit and see this new addition to our family.

The same is true of East Ridge High School. We have not built a high school in over 30 years. East Ridge High School is the newest member of the 833 family and just like when our youngest was born, it is an exciting addition.

The community owns our schools, and like our friends and relatives, they will flock to see their newest school. There will be many "ooh's and ah's" and this is to be expected.

But just like the Nelson's, who already had three other children, life soon returned to normal and the newest was just like the rest, except a little younger.

This is a time for us all to renew our pride in our school district. We are changing to meet the educational needs of the 21st century.

The classrooms are changing and all of our facilities are being upgraded. We are not stagnant, but moving forward as it should be.

About once a month I wander through East Ridge High School to examine the progress being made. I am very proud to say that it will soon be finished, well ahead of schedule and under budget projections.

That said, it is what happens in the building that make it exceptional. East Ridge High School will only live up to expectations if staff, students and families get involved and demand excellence for our students.

East Ridge High School has two big siblings, Park and Woodbury, which have set very good examples.

East Ridge will only attain "Taj Mahal" status when it proves to be in a class with Park and WHS.

Nelson is School District 833 superintendent and can be reached at