BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It was a day of many firsts for students at one Baton Rouge school as kids in East Baton Rouge Parish, Zachary, Baker, East Feliciana Parish and Pointe Coupee Parish school districts got back to it.
Now the school can begin to breathe is how the principal of the new Lee Magnet High School described the first day of classes.
After years of envisioning and two years of building, that day finally arrived Wednesday.
"We're so excited to see what the kids are going to be, where are they going to hang out," said Principal Nanette McCann. "Over the bridge? Will they be sitting on the benches? We can't wait to see what they will do."
What was very noticeable was the smiles. They were everywhere and on everyone's face. The new school smell was infectious.
"It's great; it's funny to see the students here," said Simon Baxter, who teaches photography and media arts. "We've been here so many times. Now, they are all here walking around. Brings life to the school. It's great."
The school is designed to be great. In fact, it's designed more like a small college campus. There are different buildings for different disciplines. The school houses a Biomedical Academy, Digital Arts and Media Academy, and STEM Academy.
The fact that the school has a partnership with LSU means real college classes being taken at Lee, so students are that much further along their path when college comes around.
"We've been talking about this school as a school like no other. There is no other school in the state like this," McCann explained.
More than $50 million was spent to get this oasis of education built. The goal is that more and more kids are able to have access to a great learning environment. The hope is that this kind of blueprint might someday become the norm.
"If every school was like this, wouldn't that be great? Maybe one day," Baxter added.
It could maybe happen one day with a lot of community support. Right now, it's one step at a time and on August 10 that step, actually many of them, were taken at the new Lee Magnet High School.
The new school is designed for a student body of about 1,200, though, it will be a few years before it gets to that number. The magnet program throughout the district is open to any and all students through a lottery system.