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Local kids head back to school, some lucky Gresham-Barlow students have brand new buildings

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Abby Koerner was stylin as she headed into her first day of first grade at North Gresham Elementary School. She even made a sign for the occasion.  There were crisp new backpacks, squeals from happy reunions between friends and many nervous parents as students streamed into local elementary schools Tuesday Sept. 3.

More than 30,000 students headed back to school in East Multnomah County's four school districts over the last few days and a lucky 3,900 or so in the Gresham-Barlow School District are learning in brand new or substantially remodeled school.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - A North Star jumps off the bus to take a look at her new school. Just minutes into the new school day, all the East Gresham Eagles were in their new classrooms at 900 S.E. Fifth St., sitting at new tables or on new rugs intently concentrating on their first tasks of the school year.

Brissia Ganona, a third grader at the shiny new North Gresham Elementary School, waiting on the sidewalk before school, said she hadn't seen inside her new school yet but admitted she was nervous for the first day of school.

North fifth grader Faron Bunder said of her new school, "I think it's really cool. It's very modern. It will be a great school."

Abby Koerner, a first grader at North, had prepared a back-to-school sign and when asked about her new school she simply said "yay!" and jumped up and down.

Her dad, Dan, said "she's looking forward to seeing all her friends."

The first day for the North Stars was busy but well-organized.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - East Gresham Elementary School teacher Mrs. Meyer uses technology to talk about attendance with her flock of second grade Eagles. Multiple staff members directed traffic and gave directions to parents and students in the new, unfamiliar parking lot and school.

North educators lined the hall welcoming students into the gym, where kids sat on the floor by grade, waiting to be shown to their brand new classrooms at 1001 S.E. 217th Ave.

The new North and East schools are part of a building program in the Gresham-Barlow School District funded by a $291.2 million bond voters passed in November 2016.

With that money, Gresham and Barlow high schools are getting major overhauls and East Gresham Elementary School was also replaced.

Hall and Hollydale elementary schools got some new classrooms.

All the district schools received security and other upgrades.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Brand new North Star Emma Chao is ready for her first day of kindergarten.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - This guy will nail it this school year.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Mrs. Breyer puts the finishing touches on her room, getting ready for her kindergartners at North Gresham Elementary School.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Just minutes into the school year and Mrs. Bell's fourth grade class at East Gresham Elementary School is already hard at work.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Some early arrivals at North Gresham Elementary peer in the windows to get a sneak peek at their new school.

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