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New year, new building

One student stopped in his tracks as he entered through the Pequot Lakes High School office Tuesday, Sept. 3, for the first day of school.

“Woah,” he said, seeing the new commons area and glass doors into the new cafeteria for the first time. When students left school last spring, this cafeteria was the middle level gym.

“It’s pretty sweet,” seventh-graders Riley Kassahn and Mike Savage said in unison when they were asked what they thought of the building’s facilities.

Though the office was crowded with a line of students seeking schedules, locker assignments and homerooms, the first day of the 2013-14 school year unveiled a building upgraded to improve students’ learning.

Every high school student started the day in the new high school gym, where they heard from principal Chip Rankin.

“It’s pretty amazing all the work that was done this summer,” Rankin said to the students, noting the entire high school student body fit on one side of the bleachers, with plenty of room to spare.

He introduced 26 new students and three foreign exchange students who joined the student body this year.

Some middle level students were led around the building, briefed on a new lunch procedure and introduced to new areas of the school.

A few students met with the challenge of tricky lockers and winding hallways, but staff and Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) were on-site to lend a helping hand for the first day.

While middle level and high school students began school Tuesday, Sept. 3, elementary students begin the year Thursday, Sept. 5.

See more photos and information on the new school facilities on pages 12-13A.