It’s the first official day of school in the all-new Archer City school building.

The old building was close to a century old. Over that time, students collected memories, conducted band concerts, and won state championships.

That’s why so many of those students were heartbroken to see the building go.

“It’s been sort of a bittersweet thing,” former English teacher Mary Lee Hawkins said. “I want the students to have a new, modern school, but it kind of breaks your heart to see the building go down.”

Even knowing that, former teachers and students alike found it hard to turn their backs on the old red building.

“It’s hard to let something like that go, but everything’s changing, and that’s just the way the world goes,” Mike Stewart, class of 1965, said.

In fact, the decision to tear down the sacred structure was hotly contested in town.

“Can you really demolish and build on that track, and build a building that is similar with the same look and the same qualities?” Superintendent C.D. Knobloch said.

Knobloch said they knew something had to be done to the century-old building.

“It wasn’t conducive to modern education and technology, and we had to decide, do we totally want to renovate this building, or do we want to build the town?” he said.

Knobloch said now that the building is nearly finished, he’s heard nothing but rave reviews from the community.

“The ones I’ve talked to love what they see,” he said. “It’s a beautiful structure and they can’t wait to get in there and come to open house and see what we have.”

Knobloch said they’ll be ready to show off the state of the art facility, where new championships and lasting memories will be made, sometime after the first of the year.