As New Jersey residents celebrate a new year, some local students celebrated the opening of a brand new, state-of-the-art school in Atlantic City.
Richmond Avenue school students were ecstatic Wednesday morning as they were finally allowed into their school, which has been under construction for the last 3 years.
Donna Haye, the superintendent for the Atlantic City School System, explained, "They're excited. You would be too if you were a student here."
The old Richmond Avenue School was demolished back in November of 2009, and students were re–located to the Brighton Avenue School a few blocks away.
Teachers and students say that the new school was worth the wait.
Gabrielle Caldwell, the principal of Richmond Avenue, told NBC40, "They were overwhelmed. They were truly excited." School officials say the new facility has classrooms for all different types of learners. Principal Caldwell added, "We have a full sized gymnasium, a media center, two computer labs in the classroom, a science lab. I mean the list can go on and on."
The school also features multiple music rooms, and teachers say the new equipment will allow their students to thrive. The music teacher at Richmond, Craig Martin, said, "Over in the auditorium at Brighton kids kind of seemed disengaged. You know, it was a little bit tougher to get lessons that really got them up and excited about music. Here, it really seems that they are so excited to be in the classroom and to be in the school and just the overall attitude of the students seems to be much more positive."
School officials explained how the new Richmond Avenue School's security is tight, and that over 75 cameras keep a close watch on the students and the building at all times. Principal Caldwell said, "We do lock down drills every month. With the new school we will go through what the drill will look like in this building."
For the first time ever Richmond Avenue features its own kitchen and no longer needs to have meals shipped from a different location. Teresa Smith, the Food Manager for the Atlantic City School District, told NBC40, "They don't run out of anything and they get a hot, fresh meal everyday."
School administrators say the school is exactly what they needed and that students will excel here for years to come. A 3rd grade student in Yolanda Smith's classroom said, "I think I'm really going to learn a lot in this new school."