New Chapter Begins At Caldwell Elementary

School doesn't start in Tyler for another week and a half, but one school just can't wait. Caldwell Elementary Arts Academy celebrated the opening of their new addition today. 

Singers from the Caldwell Elementary Arts Academy kicked off the grand opening today. They served as a reminder that the children are what the new building is really all about.

As everyone headed inside, the students were particularly excited to show off their new digs.

Ashley Orr, 9, will start 4th grade in this room in just a few days and she can't wait.  "The cubby holes over here, and I like the books, the computers. I like basically everything in here," said Orr.

Five years ago, the Caldwell Foundation donated $4,000,000 to renovate the school's current building. Since then, the school has attracted countless students like Orr from all over the district.

When they reached maximum capacity a year ago, they began turning students away. That's when the administration went back to the foundation with plans for an expansion.

The chairman of the Caldwell Foundation, Dr. Mike McArthur, explains why they didn't hesitate.  "There was a momentum there that we wanted to capture, so it was an easy decision," said McArthur.

Teachers like Oralia Sydnor say they are settling into their new rooms nicely.  "I didn't know what to do when I walked in. It was so huge," said Sydnor.

With the new rooms, come new programs. Sydnor is heading up the first ever bilingual program at Caldwell.  "That's always an exciting part, as a teacher, to be a part of a start up program," she said.

The addition cost $2,300,000 to build. It comes complete with a drama room, a New York-style ballet studio, and enough class rooms for 250 additional students  like Ashley and her younger sister Anna.

Lindsay Wilcox, Reporting: