FORT IRWIN - It's been a year, but Tiefort View Intermediate school still has the new school scent.

The walls are mark-free, rooms smell of freshly installed carpet and some of the newly-purchased supplies haven't been used yet at Fort Irwin's third- fourth- and fifth-grade school. Students and school officials say the new facility has operated smoothly since its opening in January 2007.

"It's great. Nothing breaks; everything works," said the school's principal Jason Moore. "I can concentrate my time on being in the classrooms and supporting the teachers."

He said that he was happy to make the move from shared classroom space at Lewis Elementary and Fort Irwin Middle school, all in the Silver Valley School District. Previously, Moore spent his time split between the two sites.

Moore said the biggest achievement he's seen since the school opened has been the progress students have made on their reading goals. Under the school's program, students meet with teachers to pick out books. Their progress is monitored using a computer program and assigned point values for each book completed. Moore said the school uses incentives to encourage reading. If students cumulatively earn 50,000 points, he promised to eat 10 fried worms at a school assembly, an act inspired from the children's book "How to Eat Fried Worms" by author Thomas Rockwell.

"We'll do whatever it takes to keep them motivated," he said.

He credited the school's new technology and facility for the students' progress. Each classroom at Tiefort View is equipped with four computers and projection equipment to allow the use of video in the classroom.

Kristen Scarberry, a third-grade teacher at the school, said because the facility is new, students respect it more.

"I think because it's so brand new, the kids will keep it clean better," she said. "They were so excited before. They kept saying, `When do we get to move, when do we get to move.' "

The students seem to agree that the move was a positive one.

"I like it better than the old school," said fifth-grader Malik Massey, 10. "It's clean. We don't get picked on by the older kids here, and we get better water faucets. I need a lot of water."

The post's Garrison Commander Col. Chris Philbrick, said that the construction of the new school was needed as the post expects hundreds of additional soldiers in the coming years.

"The installation was growing," he said. "We knew we had more troops coming in, and we had to prepare for growth."

He said that the new school gives the post's soldiers and their families greater peace of mind.

"It's been a positive impact on our ability to recruit and retain soldiers," he said. "If you don't have to worry about how your kids are doing at school, you can worry more about your primary mission."

Contact the writer: (760) 256-4126 or jason_smith@link.freedom.com