MADISON, Ala. - Tuesday marked the first day of school for Madison City Schools. For the first time in several years 6th graders joined the ranks of middle schoolers.
Liberty Middle School underwent $6.3 million in renovations to prepare for the change.
The sound of students filled the hallways. "It's always a joy to have a building full of noise. The school comes to life if you will," Principal Shannon Brown said.
There are a lot more kids adding their voices to the student body this year.
"To give them opportunities that may not be available," Brown said.
So, they are graduating from elementary school and joining the ranks of middle schoolers. But it took millions at Liberty to make that happen.
"We could not house them under the current construction from the 1990's. Hence the expansion of the 16 new classrooms, the expansion of the cafeteria, expansion of the gymnasium," Brown said.
Last year on the last day of school there were 950 students enrolled at Liberty. Tuesday school officials tallied more than 1,350 students.
The classroom wing and lunchroom expansion were completed in July. The gym's construction will be completed in October. But from the outside, district officials hope the new construction fits seamlessly with the old part of the building.
And it goes further than just the building. Brown says he wants this to also be seamless for students as they embark on a transitional school year together. "Our sixth graders they're new to the campus, our seventh graders are new the campus, we have our veterans if you will with our eighth graders."
Discovery is the other middle school in Madison. That school did not undergo extensive renovations like Liberty because it once was a high school and had room for the students.