HARRISBURG, S.D (KELO) — When students return to school in Harrisburg, freshmen will have a new place to call home.

Harrisburg is one of the state’s fastest-growing districts. It’s added 13 new schools in 20 years. This year district is opening a brand new freshman academy.

With less than a week to go to the start of the new year, the Harrisburg School District is putting the finishing touches on one of its newest schools.

“To be within the walls of the building has been really cool. They did a great job with the aesthetics of the building,” Ryan Rollinger, High School Principal.

The 35 million dollar freshman academy spans more than 140 thousand square feet. There are 40 classrooms, an auxiliary gym and a theater within the walls. Superintendent Tim Graf says there is also plenty of room to grow.

“We will be adding a full performing arts center and a competition gym and then the academic wings when we move to a 9-12 campus at some point,” said Tim Graf, Superintendent.

The fast-growing district is expecting close to 500 incoming freshmen this year.

“These freshmen are going to have an opportunity to kind of get to know themselves as a class before they come into a building with 1300-1400 other students,” Rollinger said.

Scott Langerock is just one of the 40 teachers that will be in the building. He says they are all ready to welcome students to the new space.

“Just all the newness just recharges your battery so it keeps you young as a teacher, a veteran teacher, maybe I guess some would say that keeps you young and it certainly reminds you why you got into education,” said Scott Langerock, Wellness teacher.

The District has also been working to finish the East Middle School down the road. Classes for both will start back up next Thursday.