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First day of classes for kids and a new school in Salem

Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:12:44 AM EST   Updated On: Sep 03 2013 05:59:47 PM EDT

For students it wasn't just the first day of school, it was the first day in a brand new school.

SALEM, Va. -

The first day of school is exciting enough with new clothes, shoes and classes.

But for the South Salem community it was made extra special with a new school.

"The kids can't wait to get here and the parents can not either. So, it's just a beautiful building, a beautiful place to educate our youngsters and we just can't be more excited," says Principal Margaret Humphrey smiling.

Gone is the little round school South Salem was known for.
Now, a new 88-thousand square foot, state of the art facility sits in its place.
It features a large cafeteria that won't have to double as gym space, sinks teachers can monitor and rooms students can grow in to.

On top of these conveniences, this is the first school Salem has built since becoming a city in 1967.
But, with a $17-million price tag, this school didn't come cheap.

"Over $2-million in cash went into the building," says Salem School Superintendent Dr. Alan Seibert. "That's important because we elected not to finance any furniture or fixtures or equipment, things that depreciate rapidly you don't want to put on your bond. So, the bond issue for this 17-million dollar building was 15 million dollars. That is being funded through the meals tax."

There are still a few finishing touches that need to happen at South Salem. Inside, it's the gym. Outside, it's an irrigation system and the playing fields.

Not bad, when you consider this entire construction project took place within 15-feet of the old school.
When classes ended in June, that building was demolished to finish the project.

"We gave them an impossible task, and yet they brought it into being. Fourteen-months is all we've been working on this building, which is incredible," explains Assistant Superintendent Mike Bryant.

And, Salem plans on sharing this incredible building.
The gym, with ample parking, and an outdoor track will be open to the community.