SIKESTON -- Eighth grader Courtney Sinuard admits posters of actor Orlando Bloom and musical artist Usher aren't tacked inside her new locker yet, but they will be, she assured.
Courtney is just been too busy adjusting to the new junior high wing at her school. On Monday, she and about 80 seventh and eighth grade students at Scott County Central moved into the recently constructed addition -- a first for the district.
"It's better than the high school," said Courtney, 14. "There's more room here than at the high school. You don't have to push your way through the halls."
Eighth grader Rashaad Brown agreed.
"The hallways are less crowded; the bathrooms are bigger," Rashaad said. "But the lockers are too small."
In the new wing, the lockers are half the size of their other lockers, he pointed out.
A ribbon cutting was held Monday for board of education members, teachers, faculty and members of the community.
Rashaad said when the students returned to school Monday from their holiday break, they were also able to attend the ribbon cutting.
"They introduced us to our lockers and we cleaned out our old lockers and moved into the new ones. Then we just went to class," explained the 14-year-old.
On Tuesday, students and teachers were still adjusting to the changes, according to superintendent Jo Anne Northern.
"Everything's going well," Northern commented. "Everyone is in transition this week. They're just getting into the routine."
In years past and for the first half of this school year, junior high students have shared the same hallways and classrooms with the senior high students.
"And there's such a big social difference between seventh graders and 12th graders," Northern said about the need for the division.
The completed wing consists of four classrooms, new lockers, four restrooms and storage space. It connects to the back of the current high school gym and into an existing hallway of the high school.
To prepare the students for this week's transition, separate lunches and lockers from the senior high school students were already in place at the beginning of the school year, Northern said.
Although the students and teachers are moved in and the building is finished, there's still a few minor things to be done, Northern noted. Computers, intercoms and SMART boards and projectors still need to be hooked up, she said.
Despite some unfinished business, the students and teachers seem to enjoy the new addition.
"We love it!" said junior high English and language arts teacher Kim Massey. "When they were with the older students, it was more confusing and more crowded. It's nice and quiet over here."
Massey said her new room is a lot brighter and has a dry erase board instead of a chalkboard. Plus, everything is new -- from the walls to the desks.
"I had everything pretty much moved in by Monday, and it didn't take long," Massey said. "I let the students help decorate the bulletin boards so they could take part in making it their own,"
Massey noted she has already witnessed some defensiveness by her students about the new wing.
"One of the high schoolers came over here yesterday for something, and a student said, 'You're not supposed to be over here -- this is our building,'" Massey laughed. "They have their own building and are protective of it. We just love it."
An open house for the junior high wing is planned for sometime within the next month. Northern noted construction of the school's new gym is still under way and is estimated for completion the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year.