A celebratory mood filled the air, as members of the community gathered to host the public grand opening of the new Cleora Public School.

"It's amazing," Kenny Guthrie told those gathered on Thursday, Sept. 7. "Less than a year ago, we were standing here, moving dirt for the groundbreaking."

The facility, which serves pre-Kindergarten to Eighth Graders, was paid for through 

$4.09 million bond, approved by voters in November 2015. While classes began on Tuesday, Aug. 22, a few finishing touches remain - including some additional work on the gymnasium and in the library.

The almost 30,000-square-foot building is home to approximately 130 students. This is the first new building constructed within the district in 75 years, and the first school bond approved by voters.

Guthrie said the new facility, which includes a storm shelter, new cafeteria and new gymnasium, will help school officials continue the district's mission, to create an environment where learning is number one.

"This is a crown jewel," Guthrie said, of the new facility. "It will help us meet demands and set higher standards for our students."

Throughout the brief ceremony, Guthrie continually reminded those gathered, the new facility was a community-wide effort.

"We wouldn't be standing here without your help," Guthrie said. 

At the time of the bond's passage, 64.84 percent of the voters approved the monies for the project, with a 225 votes to 122 votes turnout.

Guthrie mentioned multiple agencies and organizations including Cherokee Nation, REC, and Ketchum Rural Water, as the other reason the project went off without a hitch.

Guthrie said other community partners, which included First National Bank, Green Country Ford, Cherokee Yacht Club, Moorehead Construction and Newcomb Storage, helped provide the finishing touches needed to ensure the gymnasium was completed - with a new scoreboard, and large cardinal on the gym floor.

The school is located at 451358 East 295 Road, Afton. For more information, persons interested may call 918-256-6401.