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School’s out in American Falls

Last week, many schools wrapped up classes for the year and said goodbye to their students for the summer. But when one American Falls school dismissed its students on Thursday, it did so for the final time.

Thursday marked the last ever day of classes for students and staff at the American Falls Intermediate School.

When the academic year starts up again in August, students will be entering the new J.R. Simplot Elementary School, just across the lot.

A move some are excited and a little bit nervous about.

Fourth-grader Shaefer Call said he was “kind of scared, because I don’t know it and it’s pretty big, so I think I’m going to get lost, maybe.”

Gina Breding has seen the school from the eyes of a student and now as a teacher. She said the new Simplot building will greatly benefit the students.

“The new building is amazing, it has so many wonderful opportunities for the students, aesthetically for sure. But we are hoping to be a S.T.E.M. school so we have a lot of science, technology, engineering and mathematics minded approaches that we’re going forward with for the students, and they just have a lot of wonderful opportunities ahead,” she explained.

Among those new opportunities is a makerspace.

“It has like 3D printers and we can design things and there’s laser cutters,” Call said. “We can make things out of popsicle sticks, there’s glue guns, there’s all this fun stuff so you can create things.”

But even with everything new, there’s a lot that’ll be missed about the old. For Shaefer, its the lockers.

“Because I’ve never had a locker before,” he explained.

And for classmate Bryn Adair, it’s the warm feeling of the old building.

“It’s really small and cozy and everyone usually gets along in it and in the new school it’s really big so we’ll have a lot of changes.”

Changes, like them or not, that will give the students and staff a better overall experience.

“It’s kind of bittersweet but it was time for a change for American Falls,” Breding said.

The new building will bring more students together, incorporating third graders into the mix.

The old building isn’t going anywhere, and it will continue to serve as the district office with the plan to use the classrooms as a community space.

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