Autumn McKendrick, 13, went to Carson Middle school for sixth grade and for seventh grade, but when she returned Monday for eighth grade, she barely recognized the place.
"It's like a brand new school," she said. "It's a lot cooler. I love it."
Over the summer, the school was transformed from the original building built in 1956 with portable buildings out back to house additional classes, to a modern all-inclusive site.
Although the main hallway and other aspects of the school remained the same, so much around it changed to make it seem like a whole new school. Throughout the day, students were taken on tours to acquaint them with the school that was once familiar.
"It looks like a college," said Taylor Gentile, 13, who's in her third year at the school.
The 40,000-square-foot addition, built with a portion of the $25 million bond issue passed in 2006, incorporates open spaces and natural lighting.
"It's easy to get around," said Dustin Garza, 13, in his second year at the school. "You're not waiting in really long lines just to get through the hall."
Although students were dazzled with the upgrades, Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the Carson City School District, said there were still some glitches.
"They're nitpicky things that need to be worked out," he said.
For instance, the skylight control systems need to be figured out and some windows still don't have drapes.
The inspections on the cooling system weren't completed in time so the air conditioning likely won't work until late this week.
"Overall, I've got to give us an 80 percent," he said. "You always hope for 100 percent, but we didn't quite get there."
The renovation and addition was a lot to get done in a relatively short amount of time.
"I can't tell you how much hard work was put into this place by everybody involved," Mitchell said. "We had 160,000 square feet of school that had to be put together. We touched every room in that building with new wiring or technology or paint or electrical work."
He expects that the problems will be identified and worked out as students and staff settle into the building.
"It's going to be what we want, and it's going to be awesome."
Superintendent Richard Stokes, who visited every school site Monday, said things went well throughout the district for the first day.
"It was really quiet, which is good news for us," he said. "The kids knew where they needed to be and the teachers were taking care of business.
"We'll show up tomorrow and hope for the same."
- Contact reporter Teri Vance at email@example.com or 881-1272.