By CHRIS EVERSOLE
The new Mustang Central Middle School was quiet at 7:30 a.m. Friday, with several parents and their kids already waiting in the parking lot ahead of official opening of the doors for the first time at 8:10 a.m.
Around 7:45 a.m., several parents who teach at Central – accompanied by their children who attend school – unlocked the doors to enter.
By 8 a.m., 10 cars were lined up, one behind the other, in the driveway, waiting to drop off students.
Michael Clark, a seventh-grader, and his sister, Payten, an eighth-grader, were the first two students in the line waiting for the doors to open.
Promptly at 8:10 a.m., Principal Toby Blair opened the door, and students began streaming in.
As cars and SUVs pulled parallel to the entrance, a slight bottleneck developed.
Jason Pittenger, the assistant superintendent for operations, sprang into action.
Playing traffic cop, he directed the next cars in line to pull about 100 feet beyond the entrance so that more students could be dropped off at the same time.
Inside, a group of teachers wearing bright red “#We are Central” T-shirts greeted students.
After checking in with staff, the students assembled in the gym with its shiny wood floor.
The day officially began at 8:40 a.m.
Blair briefly welcomed the students before they scrambled to their classrooms throughout the two-story building.
“It was a good start of the day; only a small logjam,” Blair said.
The school, located at 11820 S.W. 44th St. and 100,000 square feet in size, was funded by a $180 million bond issue that voters approved in February 2017.
Bond-issue projects that opened for last school year were Riverwood Elementary School, located north of the new middle school, and Meadow Brook Intermediate School (serving fifth- and sixth-graders) on SW 15th Street, west of Czech Hall Road.
The high school science academy that is under construction will open later in the fall, and the performing arts center is under construction.