Science classrooms in four Davis schools will be retrofitted to accommodate a new ninth-grade science course, even though the state school board has voted to no longer require ninth-grade science instruction.

The district has set aside $2 million to better outfit North Davis, Farmington, Centerville and South Davis junior high schools with lab and classroom space needed for the new Earth systems course. The retrofit is among 22 building projects under way in Davis School District, totaling around $40 million."We're excited they're able to outfit science rooms so students and teachers actually can do science rather than read about it," said Virginia Ord, district science supervisor.

"I would love to teach this class. This is one of those that intrigues me," she said. "It's so broad and encompassing. That's what makes it exciting."

The freshman course addresses interdependencies of earth systems, including biology, geology and the planet's place in the universe.

The State Board of Education last month voted to strongly recommend schools offer the course, which was to be required next fall as approved under the 1995 science core curriculum.

The board's vote followed complaints that freshmen had but one elective with the requirement, threatening music, arts and language programs. Many ninth-graders would opt for LDS seminary for their elective courses, some feared.

Davis district also strongly recommends students take Earth systems, implemented in all 13 junior high schools.

"We want to make sure our students have a good academic core. And that's part of a good academic core," Ord said. Most universities require three years of high school science at entrance; others mandate four. Nearly 80 percent of Davis district students take college entrance tests.

The four schools have some form of a science lab, but in some cases that amounts to a single sink, Ord said.

The project will accommodate growth and science room needs, Ord said. South Davis will get as many as five new science rooms. Bountiful is getting a new wing for science classrooms. Farmington and Centerville will update classrooms with electricity, sinks and running water. Rooms also will have proper ventilation and stor-age.

The retrofit is to span the summer, said Bryan Turner, director of district construction projects. Other projects, three-fourths of which fall under a $75 million bond approved last year, will take 12 to 18 months to complete. They include:

- Classrooms, a counseling center and commons area at Sunset Junior High.

- Three new elementaries and Young Parents alternative high school.

- A classroom wing to Bountiful Junior High, marking the last of three building phases.

- A 10-classroom addition to Syracuse Junior High.

- A commons area and family and consumer sciences wing at Viewmont High.

- A media center upgrade and new commons area, counseling center and administrative offices at Millcreek Junior High in Bount-i-ful.

- Air conditioning at Cook Elementary in Syracuse.