COLUMBIA — Boxes of books are stacked on the carpeted floor of the empty library on the second floor of the new Father Tolton Regional Catholic High School.
Furniture for the second floor won't be installed until next week, so the books will remain where they are for now.
With the first grading period at Tolton over, the timing seems appropriate for students to start anew at the city's first Catholic high school in southeastern Columbia.
The ninth- and 10th-graders, who have been going to school at Columbia College until Tolton is finished, start classes in the new building on Tuesday. On Friday, faculty and volunteers, some of whom showed up as early as 7 a.m., moved in while students enjoyed the day off.
The new building, at 1305 E. Gans Road, has been under construction since August 2010.
"The delay was really just in some of the small, but very important, details," Principal Kristie Wolfe said. "For instance, the network is really important because our students are working from laptops."
Initially, classes will be held in the east wing of the school until the rest is finished.
The music room, art room and gymnasium, all located in the east wing, are complete.
The music room is set up and ready for play practice. Students have started working on a Christmas musical, written by music teacher Pat Wackenhut.
On Friday night, the gym will hold the first school social.
"We're joking around and calling it our 'home-going' because nobody went away yet," Wolfe said.
The rest of the building is expected to be done within the next two weeks, and a grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 20.