After multiple delays, the new Collins Lane Elementary School will officially open to students on Thursday, Jan. 3, the day they return from winter break, said Principal Jennifer Perkins.

“It’s been very exciting,” she said of waiting for the new building to be ready. “It’s been a whirlwind of events and we’ve taken those events in stride, with the postponement of moving in on fall break. It’s building a positive anxiousness that will benefit everyone once it’s complete.”

Some of the classrooms in the new school were organized and looked like elementary classrooms. Others were in disarray, with boxes and furniture stacked up. Collins Lane teachers worked together and separately to organize the rooms and get their furniture where they wanted it.

Watching the new school being built has been exciting for kindergarten teacher Kendy Nicholson and her students, she said. Nicholson’s former room has a window facing the new building and her students have watched it being built step-by-step, causing their excitement to grow, she said while reshelving books in her new room.

“I am super excited,” added Collins Lane fifth-grade teacher Kristen Anderson. “I love our old building, I love our school, but it’s been so exciting to get new things and set up a room again.”

The school district purchased all new furniture for the building, including modern desks for the teachers, she added. Her previous desk was a 1960s original. Anderson said she’s excited to teach her students to take pride in and care for the new furniture.

Some teachers have involved their students in the room decorating. Tara Cracraft’s third-grade students drew pictures to hang on the walls of their new classroom, which they haven’t even seen yet, she said.

“When you have a class already put into place and you get to take them with you, it’s kind of cool to let them share what they want in their new classroom,” she said. “A lot of them probably spend more of their day here than at their actual home.”

While Cracraft was working on her room, students on the playground outside her classroom’s window were pressing their faces against the glass, trying to sneak a peek inside.

Collins Lane students have had access to the new playground during the first part of the school year. Cracraft said the students have been encouraged to peek into the classrooms to increase their excitement for the new school.

Anderson said Franklin County Schools sent staff from central office to the school Monday to cover classes for those teachers who wanted to prepare their new rooms.

“That was really generous of them,” she said. “We’re really grateful that we don’t have to use a ton of our spare time that we don’t have a lot of.”

An open house for students, parents, staff and faculty will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, the day before the school officially opens, said FCS Superintendent Mark Kopp.




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