On their first day of school last week, some Coy Elementary School students stopped in the hallway, spun around, and trekked off in another direction. Others asked teachers for help finding their classrooms.
The students were, after all, still getting used to their new school building, which was finished this summer.
Nolan Binting-Andrews, 7, was sure he could find his second-grade classroom on his own. He remembered where it was from a recent tour he took with his mother, Lacy Binting.
Nolan was so confident he told his mother she didn't need to follow him inside.
"He said, 'Mom, I don't want anyone to see you. I'm too big, Mom,'•" Ms. Binting said. She accompanied him anyway, because of the number of books and supplies he had to carry, and photographed him as he flashed her a toothless grin.
"It's super nice," Ms. Binting said of the school. "The classrooms are really big and comfortable, and it's more, I would say, user-friendly."
A bathroom is included in the design of every kindergarten and first and second-grade classroom, and the doorways of each grade level are painted in a different color for easy identification.
In addition, joint workrooms are shared between classrooms, and an elevator makes the two-story, "Prairie-Style" building, which is equipped with security cameras, easily accessible for everyone.
Principal Lonny Rivera said he'll take students around the building for the next several days to help acquaint them with the nurse's office, library, gym-cafeteria, computer lab, main office, and other important areas.
"We have a brand-new school, so I want everyone to make the best effort to keep it clean," he said while showing the gym-cafeteria to fourth graders.
He explained some rules that students didn't get with the former Coy building, such as a restriction against using the new building's elevator without first getting a doctor's note or permission from the school.
"I like that now the art teacher has a room and we have elevators for people who are handicapped," Cheyenna York, 9, said.
After the tour, Austin Case, 9, only had three words for his new school: "It's really big."
The new Coy was built on 22 1/2 acres at 3604 Pickle Rd., across from Schmidlin Road. It is large enough for 600 students. The 81-year-old building it replaced remains nearby.
"We're not tripping over everybody," fourth-grade teacher Kelly Anderson said about the space at the new building. "There is more room for group work, and the noise and distractions are down 100 percent."
While there were some tears of apprehension from the younger students on the first day of school, others, including Bailey Graver, 6, were thrilled that a new school year had begun.
"She literally sprang out of bed this morning. She heard the garbage truck and thought the school bus was pulling up," said Amy Graver, the first grader's mother. "She was in her pajamas with disheveled hair just ready to go. She was excited for the first day of school."
The school will have a 90-minute open house on Oct. 4, starting at 6 p.m. The school's dedication ceremony will follow on Oct. 7, at 2:30 p.m. in the school's multipurpose room.
Coy is the only school being replaced under the Oregon City School District's $45 million school building project. Other buildings are to be renovated or given additions.
The projects are being financed over 28 years through the sale of $45 million of bonds. They were authorized by voters in November, 2004.
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