METHUEN — Teachers never looked so giddy at the end of summer.
High school teachers and staff arrived to a nearly unrecognizable building yesterday morning as the renovated and expanded southern half of the building opened its doors — and windows — to them to orient themselves and set up their classes the day before students return.
Teachers met in department meetings in their new classrooms, had their first lunch in the new cafeteria and serving area, and picked up the boxes of their things in the field house.
Meanwhile, construction crews put stone on the hallway steps, polish-finished hand rails, painted the last walls and poured concrete sidewalks outside the building in a last minute push to complete the main areas of the building, the “fine tuning,” according to Principal James Giuca.
Superintendent Judith Scannell said that while a couple areas will not be done for school today, the critical parts are complete and the workers will be out of the student sections.
“We’re ready to roll,” Giuca said yesterday. “It’s major league. It’s a fabulous building and it begins a new era for the high school. We’re going to use it to the best of our ability.”
Classrooms are done and teachers began moving their things into the new rooms, which each are equipped with digital televisions and audio systems and new desks.
The girls’ locker room will take a few more days, Scannell said, and the nurses will use a fine arts room while their area is completed.
The field house has been used as storage, and was still cluttered with teachers’ supplies from their old classrooms and some furniture yesterday morning. But those areas are expected to be finished in the next few days or week, she said.
It still has a sort of temporary feel, since they are still down space due to ongoing renovation in the north wing. The new media center and library will be used for classrooms and administration offices this year until the whole building is completed.