FLOYD COUNTY — This was not Amy Niemeier's first day as Slate Run Elementary School principal. But in some ways, it was.
Niemeier not only welcomed students back to school following summer break, but she also officially opened the new Slate Run Elementary School on Monday morning. Last year, Slate Run students attended school in the old school building of Graceland Baptist Church while their new school was being constructed. While most students dread the first day of school, Slate Run students had plenty of smiles on their faces as they entered the new building.
"I think the quote of the day is from one our third-graders," Niemeier said. "She experienced the old building, the temporary building, and now she's here in the new building. It was 'Thank you so much for this new building. It's amazing.' I think that sums it up."
Students marveled at their colorful, brand new surroundings with delight, Niemeier continued.
"The kids were just so excited from that minute they came off the bus," she said. "Just talking about how cool the school is and how much there is to see. The teachers are saying the classrooms are spacious. The teachers and students have always been phenomenal for more than 50 years here at Slate Run, but now we actually have a building that's going to help enhance that learning."
Not only did the new Slate Run open, but several other renovated buildings in the New Albany Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. opened up to students Monday. One of those was Prosser, which saw additions and improvements to its facilities.
"We have a brand new Slate Run that's opening up this morning. That's really exciting. Prosser is essentially substantially complete. That's really exciting," NAFC Superintendent Brad Snyder said. "We're making great progress on our soccer field for New Albany High School. It's a little behind schedule. Greenville is really going to be a nice improvement. It's a little rough right now, but it's going to get there."
This is Snyder's third year as superintendent and 27th with the corporation. As always, he was excited about the opening of a new school year.
"I'm very pleased," he said. "I think we have a very healthy organization top to bottom. Today's a good example. Everybody's got a clean slate, attitudes are good. Expectations are high. It's just a fun, fun day."
There was plenty of buzz surrounding the opening of Slate Run. The school is 84,000 square feet, and cost around $18 million. It has 22 classrooms along with a media center, cafeteria and gymnasium. But there is something from the old building that made its way to the new one.
"We did take the letters from the original building and incorporate them into the sign that you see right when you walk into the main spine as you enter the building," Niemeier said. "That was one of the favorite things. At first they didn't even realize that it was the original lettering from the original school. [I am] loving that blend of tradition with new. The school does mean so much to the community. There are people who were at first hesitant about us tearing down their school, but now that they've seen what we've accomplished and what it's going to mean for the future, they love it."
Niemeier said the new school has natural light and "there's great color. It's motivating."
"There's great space for large-group instruction and small-group instruction," she said. "It really helped us create an environment where they could teach with current best practices, and we can really meet the kids' different learning styles. We're in a technological society now, so there's a lot of integrated technology."
Snyder said the corporation has two new principals as well as several assistant principals starting new roles this year. This too, he added, brings a heightened level of excitement.
"New names and new faces everywhere you go," he said. "We've got things going on."
— Assistant Editor Chris Morris contributed to this article.