COLUMBIA - Columbia's newest school, Battle High School, opened its doors and welcomed students for the first day of school on Tuesday. Battle High is the new home to around 1,100 students grades ninth through eleventh. Next year, the school will have seniors as well.
The first day went smoothly. There weren't many students still needing their school schedules and most knew where they were going despite the size of the school. The building is approximately 300,000 square feet and sits on 85 acres of land. The district used around $75 million from a voter approved bond to pay for the facility.
School started at 8:55 a.m. After the students' first class they met in the football stands at 10:15 a.m. for an assembly and school picture. The school's band also played. Students said Tuesday they are excited to be some of the first Battle Spartans and are looking forward to starting new traditions.
Columbia Public School's Superintendent Chris Belcher said he's glad to see all of the years of planning and work finally come together.
"It's been a labor of love, but it's really good to see it finally coming together," Belcher said. "I've been anxious, I've been waiting for this day. I think my staff has done a tremendous job to prepare for this and I think by the end of next week, we'll be in the new rhythm of Columbia Public Schools."
Ninth grade student Erick Mejia said he's looking forward to this first school year, "Just that I'll be the very best and that I'll be able to set a standard for future students."
He added that when he first saw Battle High he was impressed, "It was overwhelming at first because there was so much going on when they gave the tours. It's just wow, I've never been in a building like this before."
Ninth grade student Cindy Robb said Battle's the perfect place to learn.
"Education is everything. Education can take you and help you be whatever you want to be in life," she said. "The teachers are nice, the people are friendly, the school looks really nice and clean."