By Mike DeNardo

CAMDEN COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) — Wednesday was the first day of classes in a new charter school building in Camden.

The morning announcements at Mastery Cramer Hill said it all: “Welcome to our beautiful new building…”

First-grade teacher Jasmine Pearson says there’s no comparison.

“We have big wide windows, it’s nice and open. It’s beautiful. Compared to the last building, it’s 100 percent better,” said Pearson.

Mastery’s Chief Operating Officer Joe Ferguson says the new K-8 facility at East State Street and River Avenue replaces two older buildings.

“We’re combining two schools — one that was temporarily located at the Pyne Poynt Middle School, and the old Washington school in Cramer Hill,” said Ferguson.

Sixth-grader Amirah Jackson couldn’t wait to begin a new year in a new building.

“I’m looking forward to new grades, new teachers and new friends,” said Jackson.

Principal Meredith Howell-Turner says the building on River Avenue is not just for students and teachers.

“There’s a lot of community access rooms here,” said Howell-Turner. “We want this to be a space that’s both for students during the day and for community members during after hours and weekends.”

Mastery Charter now runs five schools in Camden, and 19 in Philadelphia.