The first few waves of livestock have made their way into the newly-constructed Ron Appleton Agriscience Facility.
During the second week of school, agriscience teacher and FFA advisor Brooks Humphrey loaded up students' swine and lambs from the old ag barn, located on Howard Road, to transport to the newly constructed ag barn, positioned on nine acres of land northeast of Waxahachie High School.
"We are really excited about the new barn," Humphrey said. "We just got our animals moved in. We are ready to start a good year and hit the stock show season running."
Agriscience teacher and FFA advisor James Glenn elaborated on the excitement of this year's opportunities, saying, "We are located across from the student parking lot, we are excited for this upcoming year. We can't wait to see what this year has to bring us."
The high school's proximity to the new ag barn was just one of the many bonuses for WHS junior Wesley Smith, the Waxahachie FFA treasurer who is in his third year showing lambs.
"As opportunities go, it's [the new barn] going to give me a lot more time to raise my animal," Smith explained. "I won't have to worry about them being out in the heat or the cold, and I'll be able to come over here straight from school, which will save me a whole lot of time on driving."
The main building includes bathrooms, wash racks, a classroom with an overhead door, an office for teachers, a closed-in arena, and a concession area.
Each less than 10,000 square feet, two sections are attached to each side of the main structure. One serves as a swine barn, which includes space for approximately 100 pens; meanwhile, the other section houses the sheep and goats and allows room for 50 pens.
MaCayla York, a sixth-grade student at Finley Junior High, has shown sheep for two years and is currently raising three. She is looking forward to utilizing the indoor show arena, "because we don't have to worry about the weather, how hot it's going to be, and the rain."
Parents are incredibly pleased with the opening of the building, too. Michael Crowl has two children showing lambs this year, one a first-year FFA student, and the other a second-year FFA student. Crowl agreed that the new facility is a breath of fresh air.
"Something as simple as plugging in a fan, you would blow a breaker and have to go reset it, try to reset a GFI," Crowl explained about the old ag barn. "So, being able to come into the new barn and being able to plug something in as simple as a blow dryer, we don't have to worry about tripping a breaker."
Another significant advancement parents, teachers, and students are pleased with is the security system that will be installed to keep an extra eye on the animals, projects, and equipment. Soon, the agriscience facility will also include badge access for students.