Terra Alta East Preston School is under some major construction. The new addition that will house middle school students is still going up. And some local parents didn't think this was the best way to start out the school year. But the principal and the superintendent are hoping that this short time of chaos, will pay off in the long run.
What looks like a construction zone on the outside, is really a place for students to learn reading, writing and arithmetic on the inside. And what looks like students in classes quietly working, is actually a gymnasium split into six different classrooms by shelves and filing cabinets.
"The good news is that, we do have six classrooms in there," said Russell Cecala, the Principal of Terra Alta East Preston. "But most of the day, because of activity classes and other things going on in the school, most of the time there's only four and towards the end of the day there's only two classrooms in the gym."
When the community found out the building would not be ready for the first day of class, the main concern was keeping all of the students in their school.
"The community has really come together, the staff has come together to make this happen," said Rick Hicks, Preston County Schools Superintendent. "We're pretty excited about the facility being finished but in the mean time, everyone is hanging in there to make things happen. So I think everybody, especially the staff and Dr. Cecala, and his staff up there deserve a lot of credit."
Both Hicks and Cecala said the community really helped keeping all the students at Terra Alta East Preston.
"I'm just very proud of our faculty and staff and our students," said Cecala. "They came in ready to learn [Thursday] and they're very enthusiastic as you went through our building. We're having lots of learning going on and lots of good opportunities for our kids. And we're going to keep up the good work."
Most parent's main concern is the safety of the students.
There are two exits in the gym, three others in the main building, and exits through the art rooms. Cecala said they have already gone through some fire drills and he plans to run through some more as the days continue.
Right now there is only one main entrance to the school, the gravel road put in so buses could get to and from the school.