Lexington's Waddell Elementary finally has first day

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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) -- The cars came rolling in and the students jumped out to be met not just by their principal, but the police chief, and even the city manager.

“I’m just here to support the teachers, the school staff, and everyone here in Lexington," said Lexington City Manager Noah Simon, "Is they all welcome and enjoy this great opportunity.”

It was a new first day of school, in a new building, with new classrooms, after a long wait.

“It certainly was a test of patience. Certainly kudos to our staff for the flexibility that they showed the past couple years being on one campus with the middle school," said Scott Jefferies, Superintendent of Lexington's City Schools. "But now they’re home. Our kids are home, our teachers are home. We’re back in this beautiful neighborhood and we’re excited.”

They had hoped to be in the new building, after two years of construction on the foundations of the original, hundred-year-old Waddell building, at the start of the school year, but technical delays pushed the welcome back to Monday.

“It has been absolutely amazing to see what happens when a community comes together to support a school and the work that the teachers have put in – not just this week, but during the first transition and during the time in the temporary building. It’s remarkable,” said Principal Tim Martino.

And so now the kids of Waddell can settle in and get on with the job at hand: “So we’re going to take some time today to establish rules and procedures and things like that," Martino said. "But we really don’t have any time to waste. And our teachers know that, and our kids know we expect that of them.”

Because Martino wants this to be more than just a new building. “At the end of the day," he said. "This is the kids’ school. This isn’t about the grown ups and the building, and we just get luxury and the privilege to work here. So we just want it to be everything for our kids.”