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COLUMBIA - Most public schools in Columbia will be opening their doors on Tuesday for the start of the 2017-2018 school year, with more than 18,000 students embarking on their first day of class.

Some specialty schools and Kindergarten have their start dates later in the week. 

Columbia Public Schools Community Relations Specialist Michelle Baumstark said everything should be business as usual for most schools in the district, with some new additions for this year’s session.

Douglass High School features the biggest change from last school year, considering it was not open during that time.

The alternative high school closed down for the 2016-2017 school year to renovate all of the inside of its main building.

Baumstark said construction crews updated everything, from the school's sports facilities to the art rooms. 

 "It was time for it to be done, and it also provides more opportunities for the students in that building to be able to have access to high quality technology, to have the appropriate classroom space. I think anyone who's been in that building knows about the functioning of the gym, and not having enough space for music, we think we fixed that," Baumstark said. 

The school district will hold a formal dedication of the new building in late September. 

One Columbia parent said she's excited about the possibilities the renovations could bring. 

"I think this will really give the kids at Douglass opportunities that kids at other schools have had for a little bit now, which is good. They certainly deserve it," Lucy Brown said.