SPOKANE, Wash. -

It was time to go back to school Tuesday for thousands of students across the Inland Northwest, and it was also the first day of operations for the new Jefferson Elementary School, which was approved by voters in a 2009 bond measure.

The first day of school is always exciting but the students at Jefferson Elementary have more to celebrate: A new facility built with a state of the art computer lab, new library and most importantly it was built to allow the student population at Jefferson to grow for years to come

Parents of Jefferson students gathered around the new school for a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday morning to mark the first day of the new school.

“I just am excited for her to be in a brand new school and just the convenience of everything that is going to be there for her," mom Stacy Hughes said.


"I love this school, the teachers are great, it is a great location and its a good start for her," mom Erica Herman said.

Along with the computer lab and library the new school includes a multipurpose cafeteria facility separate from the gymnasium, an outdoor courtyard area and several features that will improve safety and security, including a pick up and drop off area in the parking lot for parents, much different than the busy intersection at the elementary school’s old location at the intersection of 37th and Grand Avenue.

“It was a busy intersection and the light helped a lot but there was no place for parents to pick up and drop off so this parking lot is going to be nice and we are excited for the first day of school,” Herman said.

For Jefferson Elementary Principal Mary-Dean Wooley the best part of the new school is it's design, one rectangular building completely connected. That means students and teachers won't have to travel back and forth from mobile classrooms

“In the past we have been separated in three buildings so a lot of instructional time was consumed by getting from one place to another, so now we're all under one roof, there are no stairs," Wooley said.