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New Rochester elementary school opens doors to students

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Overland Elementary School in northwest Rochester officially opened its doors to students Wednesday.

The new elementary school will be used by 470 Harriet Bishop Elementary students while the current Harriet Bishop building is being rebuilt.

Harriet Bishop staff are also teaching in the new school.

"We're all excited to be back," Harriet Bishop Principal Jared Groehler said. "We've had a lot of anticipation with construction, and getting the building ready to go. We've been able to show virtual tours prior to this week. These past two days we've had all of our students and families in for individual conferences. Staff are excited for this first bell to ring."

Next August, Overland will open for neighborhood students and is expected to serve more than 700 children.

School boundaries aren't determined yet for 2022 school year, but, RPS said students within the walking boundary of 1.25 miles of the new school can assume that Overland will be their school.

RPS said there are 130 kids right now living within the walking boundary. They were invited to enroll in Overland for this school year, instead of their current school.

Megan Cane and Zach Lewis live in the neighborhood next to Overland. Their daughter just started first grade there.

"We've been watching the school come up, and we didn't think she'd get to go this year because they're bussing in Bishop but we're really excited to have the option to walk and bike to school," Cane said.

The building has a copper exterior and those Wednesday who have toured it said the layout is open and there is a lot of natural light throughout the building.

Overland broke ground last August and was the first of four construction projects put into motion by the November 2019 $180 million referendum. The money is also paying for a new middle school and reconstruction of Harriet Bishop and Longfellow schools.

The Harriet Bishop students will return to their middle school next year once construction is complete.

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Megan Zemple

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