New school opens in Kennewick - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New school opens in Kennewick

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KENNEWICK, Wash.--New school opens in Kennewick. A new Christian school opened it's doors for the first time Monday morning. The Bethlehem Lutheran School has been operating in Kennewick for more than 100 years. Planning and reconstruction for the building took 17 years to do.

Principal Eric Haan says "it's a mixture between excitement and awe. They're just sort of walking around but having fun playing with each other. I think they'll be louder tomorrow." Student Alexis Preenstra says "it's fun to have Chapel in there because it's just a lot nicer. I think it's just going to be fun this year."

The new school cost $3.5 million. All of the money was donated. More than 225 children attend the school from preschool to 8th grade. Staff and students moved out of the old facility in November. They merged the church and the school to make learning easier for the students. Admissions Director Amy Holt says "we have the opportunity to be in one building, all on one campus with the church and the school. So we're able to accommodate the needs of students a lot easier now."

The new building features subject-specific classrooms, like a technology room and a science room. Holt says "we're just going to be able to offer a lot of curriculum. Things that we weren't able to offer at the other location." Now the school is working to finish the gymnasium and the outside lawns. They plan to have the gym and playing fields complete by next year. 

Right now there's a waiting list for kindergarten and preschool classes. Bethlehem Lutheran is also accepting applications for open space in other grades.