Elementary schoolers in Melba are finally attending class in their new school. The school has been a year in the making, and is still not entirely finished.
Last year, the Melba School District broke ground on the new building after receiving a $9.5 million bond. Multiple construction delays pushed the start date back more than once. Students were originally supposed to start class in the new school at the beginning of the fall semester. That date was then pushed back to Oct. 10. It would be Oct. 24 before class would be held in the new building.
Principal Sherry Ann Adams says watching students get off the bus in the morning has been worth the wait.
"They can't believe that we're in this beautiful new building," Adams says. "They don't have to go outside to go to P.E. or to music or to use the restroom."
The old elementary school was in need of updates. Students had to travel outside between classrooms and make a daily trip to the nearby high school for lunch. The old school even lacked a full-functioning fire alarm or intercom system.
Adams says the students have been adjusting well to their new surroundings.
"Those first couple of days you have those concerns of 'If I go to the restroom will I be able to find my way back to the classroom?' and 'What do we do after recess?', but those things are all starting to settle into routine now," she says.
The teachers at Melba Elementary School also think the move has been a long time coming,
"Especially within the last year, they've been having construction, so [students] could hear drilling and they'd see the crane moving things," fourth grade teacher Carissa Brown says. "You'd be in the middle of a lesson and you'd hear 'Oh look! They're moving that!', so you'd have to stop the lesson and be part of that moment with them."
There's still more work to do on the building. Some of the floors have yet to be finished. The lines on the basketball aren't painted on, and the landscaping has a long way to go, but teachers say none of that is hampering the students' excitement for the new school.
"They're just excited to be involved and be part of this whole process of moving and coming up to the new school," Brown says. "They feel like they're making history, and they're excited."
Adams says crews have slowed their work so that the construction noise isn't a distraction to students. Crews plan on making the finishing touches over the Thanksgiving break.