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August 07, 2014 10:05 PM

George McGovern Middle School Opens For Students

Sioux Falls, SD

Located in the growing northwest corner of Sioux Falls sits George McGovern Middle School, the newest school in the Sioux Falls School District.

"We are just tickled pink; we just can't wait for the kids. We can't wait for the first day to see those kids come in. This building is absolutely gorgeous," Principal LaVonna Emanuel said

Soon, students will be walking into the doors for the first time. Emanuel has been waiting for the first day of school here for years.

"We've had some time to plan and think through things.  We started two years ago when we decided what the name was going to be," Emanuel said.

Emanuel has been busy this summer with the schools' finishing touches. She says the decisions she's making, big or small, could impact future young learners.

"We felt like it was very important to go slow and be very deliberative about it because we felt like whatever we may decide may very well be in place for 50 some years," Emanuel said.

Teachers are also busy in their classrooms finding a new home for everything.

Carol Beldin, a reading teacher, says the new school will have something for every kid.

"Kids will be here and I think they will be thrilled. I think they will love the new building and love having the new fresh look and it'll make them feel really special, I think," Beldin said.

Even today, crews are getting everything set in place. With a new school come some new challenges.

"I'm okay if some things aren't up on day one because I feel like I want to take my time and make sure we get them in the right location and we are thoughtful about it," Emanuel said.

There is still a lot left to do at George McGovern Middle School; the parking lot doesn't even have parking spaces just yet. And that's not all.

"We're a little concerned about the library right now. It's not unpacked and it's a bigger job than for one person so we do have some plans in place," Emanuel said.

In the brand new school, Emanuel says her staff also wanted to make history come alive. They want each student to see the spirit of George McGovern, from having his picture posted on walls to historic legislation he helped pass.

"George McGovern was responsible for the legislation that went through making sure all students receive a lunch and so we've really used some pieces of history with him in our server area and I just can't wait until all that is done," Emanuel said.

For the students coming in on the first day of school, nerves may run high but Beldin says everyone, from students to staff, will all be getting used to the new building.

"All of us are going to be learning.  Teachers will even be learning where things are and how to direct kids. It'll be great, we'll all be ready and prepared when they come and it'll be a very exciting year," Beldin said.

The first day of school for Sioux Falls is Monday, August 18. There will be an official dedication of the school on Thursday, August 28.

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