LAKE TWP.  Students at Lake Local Schools started school a bit later than most districts in the county. Grades one through nine started on Sept. 4, grades 10-12 started on Sept. 5 and the kindergartners started on Sept. 10.

The students didn’t mind because they got to start the year in new school buildings and they are loving the new furniture, the new colors, the classroom layouts, and the elementary kids love the new air conditioning.

"The school is really nice, I really like the air conditioning, the new media room and the open classrooms," said fifth-grader Adella Coblentz.

Other fifth-graders who mentioned the air conditioning included Cole Carson, Jeff Whittman and Taylor Moore. A few of the sixth-graders, including Nathan Hoversten, Alex Omelkovets, Isabella Barr and Ellyana Estes also brought up the air conditioning when asked about what they felt about the new school.

This group of fifth- and sixth-grade students are student leaders at the new Lake Elementary School. The building houses second and third grades on the second floor and grades four, five and six on the ground floor.

All of the students interviewed commented on the new colors and how they make the students feel encouraged, the new style furniture, open classrooms, the new media room and overall commented that they loved it all.

"One of the things I like is that no matter where you sit in the classrooms, you can see what the teacher is doing," said Alex Omelkovets.

"It looks like a totally different school and it’s all really cool, it’s nice that Lake can create such a great school," added Ellanya Estes.

Lake Elementary Principal Donna Bruner said everybody has made a "smooth" transition from the older schools to the new schools. She said the administration, Board of Education members, staff, teachers, construction crew and the architects made a tunnel to welcome students on the first day.

"The transition was well planned and organized and the first week and half of school has gone well," Bruner said. "We had four meet the building nights in advance of the start dates for families to come in tour the building and for kids to find the classrooms."

At the new Lake Middle/High School building, students were adapting quickly to their new environment. They were using the new student center areas between classes and most were using a laptop to do their work. The building, like all of the buildings, has wi-fi and plenty of work areas.

There were a group of juniors using one of the study areas and working until their next class. Rachael Hardy, Haley Dreisbach, Camella Bloom, Jonathan Kelley and Michael Gerome all were excited to be in the new building. They all liked the collaborative classrooms, the bright colors, the new style of furniture and the study areas.

"It’s been awesome coming to the new school, the student center is incredible, and the classrooms are really cool," Hardy said. "The hallways have been crowded and it was a little confusing with the classroom numbers but other than that it’s been amazing."

"The new furniture is innovative, it has been hectic getting to the classrooms, but I feel this is a good step in a new direction," Dreisbach added.

Bloom said she liked the new layout and the bigger hallways. She also liked that she could sit down anywhere in the school and work on what she needs to get done.

Kelley and Gerome both said they like the many work areas too. Plus, they liked the classroom designs.

"It feels different than the old school," Kelley said. "I really like the study areas where I can sit and get done what I need to during my two free periods."

Lake Middle/High School Principal Daniel Harold said the first week-and-half went well and that students and staff are adjusting to the new building.

"It has been wonderful to see our students and staff in grades seven through 12 transition into our new facilities after several months of professional development and planning," said Harold. "As always, our teachers are giving our students an incredible educational experience, while our students have been amazing as they adapt to their new surroundings. Although we won’t be completely done with the renovation until December of 2019, I believe Lake Middle/High School is off to an amazing start."