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A Decade In The Making, The New Waverly Elementary/Middle Opens Its Doors

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Moving day at one city elementary/middle school has come and gone. Thursday was a chance for students and teachers to celebrate their new building.

Gigi Barnett has more on the city's first totally new school in decades.

This is what Baltimore City schools look like in the future: light that floods the hallway and cutting edge technology in every classroom.

For students at the new Waverly Elementary/Middle School, the future is now.

This week, city school leaders marked the opening of the nearly $27 million building. It's their first brand new school in at least 50 years.

"This is the most amazing experience as a teacher, and I know the kids will have a wonderful experience," said Dana Whelchel, middle school teacher.

"Oh my God, it's beautiful. My brother was here, my sister was here. My mom was like, 'You're going to do so much better,'" one student said.

Right across the street is the old Waverly. The heat was unbearable in the spring, and winters were brutal. Students say the move was long overdue.

"It had leaky walls, leaky pipes. The smell would linger in the hallway after days," said Jamira Gross, Waverly Middle student.

The new Waverly is 10 years in the making.

The city says over the next decade it plans to sink more than $1 billion upgrading and renovating vacant and underused schools. It's a big price tag that the mayor says will pay off.

"It's about test scores. It's about attendance. It's about families deciding to stay in Baltimore because they have quality schools to send their children to. Again, this is a glimpse into the future," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Baltimore County is following the lead of city schools. It's taking inventory of its schools to see which ones need updating and upgrading. It has the second oldest school infrastructure in the state.

Waverly Elementary/Middle isn't finished yet. There's a second phase of construction currently underway. It is set for completion in December.

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