Students may have needed maps to help them find their classes, but officials said the first day in the new Crossett High School facility went overall smoothly as they occupied the campus for the first time Monday.
“I’ve been coordinating this dance for a long time,” CHS Principal Anthony Boykin said.
Boykin has spent the last several weeks working with the students and staff, giving tours of the school and doing whatever he could to help make the transition as easy as possible.
“There are still a few kinks to work out, but I think overall the first day went very well,” Crossett Superintendent Gary Williams said after spending most of his day at the new campus.
Williams said the tech crew was still working to get the doors programmed to unlock with the bell schedule and touch up a few minor issues.
Even as classes started, the move-in from the old building was ongoing. Available students helped librarian Lisa McCaughn in the library. Many of the books were still in boxes, but McCaughn said the school hoped to have the library up and running soon.
A few of the classrooms still require unpacking and the auditorium is still under construction, but other than that the new school was ready by its move-in date.
Students said they had mixed emotions about the new location.
“Today is really bittersweet and I will miss the old school, but the new school is amazing and I am very proud to be a part of the first senior class to attend and graduate here,” senior Alyssa Price said.
Some students were concerned with being late and felt their classes were stretched out much further apart. Others said they were afraid to take short cuts available through the amphitheater for fear of getting locked out.
“That could be a real concern today, actually, because we are working to get the doors on scheduled, but that won’t be an issue once we get everything moving along and working properly,” Williams said.
Student Paige Thompson said that it would take some getting used to, but she liked that the building had just one straight hallway instead a maze-like layout similar to the old building. Even faced with learning to navigate an entire new campus mid-year, Thompson said she is really enjoying the new campus and the amenities that come with it.
“We have so much more here, look at our shop — this shop is so much better and 10 times bigger,” Thompson said.
Student Keenan Perry said that the new facility would definitely take some getting used to, but all in all he was happy with the move.
The building is full of updated technology, more science labs, better classroom equipment and it even features private bathrooms. The students no longer have to use stalls, but instead will be able to use one of the 14 private bathrooms available on campus.
Some of the students said they loved the idea of private bathrooms, but were concerned about their availability.
“I could be wrong, but I really just don’t feel like there are enough,” said Maddi Murphy, a CHS senior.
Murphy emphasized the point that the students only have five minutes to get where they are going, which may or may not be close by, and waiting in line for a bathroom could take up time that they don’t have.
Eleventh grader Gracie Riley, however, said she thought the single-stall bathrooms were a nice new feature and didn’t really think there would be any issues.
School Resource Officer Robert Black said that he felt like the private stalls would make managing vandalism and irresponsible bathroom users much more efficient.
“We will know exactly who went in and at what time, there won’t be guessing if they went in and just didn’t go to one particular stall, they will be in there and they will either be the one who did it or they will have seen it when they went in,” Black said.
Black said that he and the administrators plan to routinely check in the bathrooms and radio to the office to let them know that they are clear. That way if an issue does arise, they only have to pull camera as far back as the last “clear” report.
Office employee Joanna Lum said at midday she thought the day was moving along smoothly and she felt like she was going to enjoy the new setup, and that the new windows and door system were going to make it much easier for her to check in and manage guests.
Anyone interested in touring the new building or saying their goodbyes to the old one may do so on Saturday.
Williams will be hosting an open house Saturday afternoon in both buildings.