HELLS KITCHEN — Students at the Beacon School started their first day at the new location feeling a combination of excitement and nerves Wednesday morning.
Some students had gotten to visit the West 44th Street school during a summer orientation and raved about the spacious library and hallways, the auditorium that could fit all the students at once and the iridescent murals designed by students last year.
Others who'd been gone all summer had only heard rumors about the bright new space.
"It's amazing, it's beautiful, it's huge," said beaming freshman Catherine Siracusa, 14. "I'm very excited."
The $88 million dollar high school at 522 W. 44th St. took three years to build and opened in early August, according to the Department of Education.
Architect John Ciardullo designed the building and has worked on a number of other city schools including P.S. 268 in Jamaica and P.S. 242 The Leonard P. Stavisky Early Childhood School in Flushing.
Returning students greeted friends near the school's entrance on Wednesday morning before the first bell.
“We’re as lost as the freshman,” said Sydney Dellaratta, 17, a senior, who added that she was excited to explore the brand new facility.
Another senior Delilah Siegel, 17, said that parts of the old Beacon High School facility on West 61st Street had become a bit of a running gag for older students, like the old building's lack of auditorium and the fact that it took a long time to navigate the hallways because they were so crammed.
“We used to joke about not having a real high school before," she said. "Now we have a real high school.”
But new building aside, the first day jitters were unavoidable for freshmen like Raquel Hernandez.
“It’s a really big change for me,” said 14-year-old Hernandez.
She said the middle school she had just graduated from was much smaller than Beacon, which has more than 1,300 kids. "I’m a little scared, a little excited, a little everything.”