BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thousands of students across the state packed their backpacks and headed off for the first day of school Monday. Some city students started the year off in a new building, while Baltimore County school leaders are trying to relieve overcrowding.

Gigi Barnett has more.

The carefree days of summer are over for thousands of Maryland students as they head back to class Monday. At Leith Walk Elementary/Middle in Northwest Baltimore, students, teachers and parents stepped into a brand new building.

“I’m more excited than he is,” said parent Jazmyne Jackson.

“It’s beautiful. It’s really beautiful. It’s a long time coming. I’m glad it’s completed,” said parent Roselyn Stewart.

After two years of construction, the new state-of-the-art addition increased the square feet by nearly 43,000 square feet to the old part of the school, which will be renovated during the school year.

School leaders say the new is better than the old.

“It’s night and day. You’re talking about central air, central heat. You’re talking about spacious classrooms, technology throughout the building,” said Leith Walk administrator Danielle Green.

While Leith Walk students celebrate their new building, Baltimore County schools are seeing an uptick in overcrowding, but the district’s new superintendent, Dr. Dallas Dance, says principals are making sure all students have space.

“Right now on the first day, we’re looking pretty good right now. I’ve received a couple of text messages and everything looks OK,” Dance said.

At the total cost of $32 million, school leaders will increase the number of students at Leith Walk Elementary from K-5 to K-8.

Most school districts went back to school Monday, except for Calvert, Cecil and Washington counties. Students there started last week.


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