BELPRE - A new year means a whole new Belpre Elementary School following the district's decision to reorganize the schools.
"We've created an almost 700 student body in this building with the reorganization," said Karen Waller, guidance counselor for the school.
Principal Bernie Boice said the student population has grown by about 200 people with the building now being home for grades kindergarten through sixth.
"Now that we're here, the potential is great with the grade configuration," Boise said.
Teachers, custodians and school staff have been working together since school let out in early June until now to get the former Belpre Middle School ready for younger students.
"It's neat to have the younger kids here," Boise said. "I'm used to having the older kids here and the younger kids are going to make my job more fun."
The building used to house grades fourth through eighth while kindergarten through second grade were at the former Belpre Elementary School building, which is now home to the seventh and eighth grades. The second and third grades were in the former Stone Elementary School building on Rockland Avenue, which is now empty.
To accommodate the new students, the classrooms have been sectioned off by grades to keep the older kids and younger kids apart. Also, a new drop-off access road has been created in front of the school and before the main road for parents to drop off children.
"We're hoping to create a safer environment for parents to drop off and pick up their children without buses surrounding them," Boise said.
In an effort to help parents and students get used to the change, the school will host an orientation Monday night for parents and new students and those students starting kindergarten through fourth grades.
Kindergarten, first and second grade parents and students are invited to a session at 6 p.m.; third and fourth grade parents are invited to attend at 6:45 p.m., and students newly enrolled are invited to the school at 7:30 p.m.
All sessions will be conducted in the school gym, with tours of the building to follow.
"We're hoping that 300 to 400 kids and parents attend," Bosie said.
The first day of school is Wed., Aug. 20. Kindergarten students will receive a personal letter indicating their specific start date. Regular school hours are 8 a.m. 3 p.m. Students will be considered tardy at 8:05 a.m. For morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up, parents are requested to use designated lanes in front of the building.
Students seeking enrollment are welcome in the office 8 a.m.-3 p.m. any weekday. Please bring birth certificate, immunization records, proof of Belpre City School District residency and appropriate custody documentation.
Supply lists are posted on school front doors or available in the office.