The beginning of the school year is fast approaching across the South Plains, and for one area high school, the anticipation has been almost three years in the making. In January 2008, Lockney High School was set on fire and much of it burned to the ground. The doors to the school officially opened Tuesday night and the entire community came out to celebrate the event.
"We're just extremely excited to be to this point," Superintendent Phil Cotham said. "A weight off of my shoulders and a lot of other people's shoulders. We've had a lot of things on top of our normal jobs and we just had that weight lifted off of us where we can go on and do what we do."
For the better part of two years, Lockney High Students had to make due in temporary classrooms. For a time they were housed in area churches, then they moved to portable buildings.
"We've been all over the place and we're ready to be under one roof and call a school our own," Cotham said.
The new Lockney High School has state of the art classrooms and state of the art technology, and when it came to designing the new campus, the school district didn't look far. Lockney High graduate Steven Aufill served as the architect on the project.
"It was nice,a little more personal knowing all the players up from helped make a difference. The school, administration, insurance company, contractors all worked very hard together and made a successful project," Aufill said.
While no one was happy about the fire, many agree the flames left behind memories and presented new opportunities.
"It's just going to be a much better situation than we've ever been in before," Cotham said.