PRINCETON, Ind. (WFIE) - Students in the North Gibson School Corporation head back to school Friday, and some primary students will be returning to a brand new classroom in a brand new building.
“The kids are always excited,” Superintendent Dr. Brian Harmon said. “They’re ready to get back. They’re ready to go.”
Many Pre-K and Kindergarten students will be among the first to see the $10 million addition to the existing 44,000 square-foot building.
The new wing is complete with 12 new classrooms, a brand new computer lab, and even a gymnasium. This marks the first time that students at Princeton Community Primary School will have access to a full gym.
“Students are coming back tomorrow,” Angela Burton with The Stenftenhagel Group said. “So we are super excited. I think everybody in the campus is even excited, as far as getting to see the teachers and making a home of it.”
With the new space, all primary students are now under one roof, with teachers from the South location now all moved in.
“We’re super excited about being together with the 1st and 2nd grade, all of us being together,” Angie Hume, a Kindergarten teacher of 14 years said.
“So currently that puts all of our students and all of our staff on the main campus,” Dr. Harmon said. “It’s been a dream for 15, maybe 20 years.”
However, school officials say completing this project in the midst of a global pandemic was no easy feat.
“We’ve never opened school in the midst of a pandemic,” Dr. Harmon said. “There’s no handbook that tells you how to open school in the middle of a pandemic.”
Dr. Harmon says there was worry of soggy weather and a lack of access to supplies potentially slowing the progress of the construction.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, when that information first began coming out, we thought, ‘oh no, we are not going to be ready for the next school year',” Harmon said. “But everybody chipped in and figured it out and got material here. We had good management, good construction, and we are ready to go.”
Dr. Harmon says this project also helps the school corporation logistically. He says they will see efficiencies in food service, transportation, and even supervision of young students.
So now - they’re ready. Following local advice and CDC guidelines, teachers told 14 News, students and parents shouldn’t worry about the first day jitters.
“We are going to be here, and do our best to comfort them” Hume said. “Help them get excited and ease any worries they may have about coming into school. We are just super excited to see them again.”
“We will figure it out,” Chelsea Egdorf and Niki Stivers, teacher aides at Princeton Community Primary School said. “A new routine, it will all be okay. They’ll be safe, we’ll figure it out. I have one of my own coming here, so it’s exciting.”