PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The first day of school has a new meaning for students at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. That’s because administrators welcomed them into a brand new building on Monday morning.

“I’m as excited as can be,” senior Rose Barretto said. “It’s futuristic. In our last building, it felt like we were in a brick box. Even though I am grateful to be here, either way, I’m going to feel like it’s more of a high school.”

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The campus has a full gym, an art room and collaborative space on every floor. Features that their old school inside Our Lady of Hope Church on Broad Street did not have.

School leaders broke ground on the $40 million project two years ago.

“This chapter is amazing. Our goal is for our students to go to and graduate from college, and this is the space that we wanted to create in order to make that happen,” principal Flannery O’Connor said.

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One wing of the independent Catholic school sits inside the old A. Mecky Tricycle Factory. Someone donated one of the business’ old bikes to the school.

“We were able to preserve that space, keep the exposed brick, the wooden beams,” O’Connor said.

It’s a piece of history left behind, as students and staff look ahead to new memories.

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By CBS3’s Crystal Cranmore.