Hempstead school district debuts 1st new school building in a decade

The Hempstead Union Free School District is celebrating the opening of the Rhodes Academy – the district’s first new school building in a decade.
School officials say the new addition should ease overcrowding and eliminate half of the district’s old portable classrooms.
Superintendent Regina Armstrong says 28 out of 56 portables districtwide will be removed because of the grand opening.
Rhodes Academy students will no longer have to walk outside in nasty weather to get to the library, cafeteria or gym since everything is housed under one roof.
“Most of the time you had to walk from the main building out in the elements to get to your classrooms so whether it was raining, it was really cold to get your lunch, it was too much back and forth for our students,” says Hempstead Superintendent Regina Armstrong.
Village Mayor Waylyn Hobbs believes the building is the right environment for students to learn, saying in part, “I think it's just a great way to start off the school year and promote Hempstead school district moving in the right direction.”
Village voters approved a nearly $47 million bond to rebuild the school in 2018.
The state-of-the-art building has three floors, colorful classrooms and plenty of space for students to learn and grow.
Bria Motley, 9, is excited to start the fifth grade in the new building.
“Big cafeteria, big gym, there's an art classroom, it's pretty big,” says Bria.
Parents are just as excited. “I think it's great. I work here in the district, and we've been waiting for this school for a long time and I'm excited,” says parent Candice Collins.
Nearly 700 students will attend pre-K to fifth grade at Rhodes Academy. Parent Jennifer King's three children will be among them.
“When I see Rhodes Academy, it's a symbol of hope, perseverance and opportunity, not just for my kids but all kids in the community,” says King.
School starts Sept. 9, and students' grandparents have been invited to help welcome the kids on the first day of school.