NEWARK, AR (KAIT) – On Monday, August 20, the Cedar Ridge School District's seventh and eighth grade students will start the new year in a new building.
Parents got a chance to tour the new junior high Thursday evening during an open house.
About 140 students will comprise the first class to utilize the 14,000 square foot building, which sits next to the Cedar Ridge High School at 1500 N. Hill Street in Newark.
"I think they'll always remember this," superintendent Dr. Ann Webb said. "The first seventh grade class that gets to come in here, I think they'll always remember that hey, we were in that new building first."
Webb says the faculty shares that excitement too. Teachers have already moved into the new building, which features eight classrooms, an up-to-date science lab and large computer lab.
"We have a large testing room now too," Webb said, "so we won't have to go off-campus for testing nor will we have to cover our gym floor and have testing in there."
Teachers, like literacy instructor Rhea Jennings, can also incorporate new technology into their lessons. Every classroom has been fitted with five computers, and SMART boards will be installed soon.
"A lot of research will be involved in the upcoming year," Jennings explained, "and so they'll have access to work together in groups in my classroom instead of me having to send them somewhere."
Principal Danny Davis says students will likely start school without a locker assignment, but he plans to have several rows installed within a week or two.
"When we get those installed," Davis added, "we'll be ready."
Students, like eighth grader Kyler Epperson, have anticipated the building's completion, which took about a year to finish because of weather delays.
Epperson says the new building will make the transition to high school much easier.
"It's just easier for the seventh and eighth grade to use," Epperson said. "It's just for us and easier to go to classes and stuff."
The district estimates that the addition cost more than $1.2 million.