EARLIER: Time to open for Collins and everyone

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By Todd Martin

As former Gov. Martha Layne Collins slowly made her way down the hallway on Sunday, words such as beautiful, amazing, state-of-the-art, gorgeous and just wow bounced around.


Nearly everyone that stopped Collins, a native of Bagdad, raved about the new school that carries her name. And Collins herself was just as impressed with the new facilities.

"When they called to ask me if they could use my name, I was blown away," she told the crowd that filled more than half of the schools' gym. "There is no better compliment than to have your name on an institute for learning. And now, Shelby County and Kentucky have a great new resource here. This place is amazing."

On Sunday about 700 people showed up for the formal opening of Martha Layne Collins High School.

Members of the school board and local government joined in with curious student and families to get a close up look at the school.

Katie Usher, an incoming Collins junior, was very impressed.

"I love it, pretty much everything about it," she said. "It's so much nicer."

John Gramig, who will be in the Army JROTC and a senior next year, said the size of the school caught his eye.

"It's beautiful," he said. "The classrooms are bigger, the gym is enormous, the computer labs are great - it's just really nice. I can't wait to get started."

Gramig just moved to Shelby County this year with his father, Lt. Col. Keith Gramig, who is in charge of the Collins' JROTC.

The ceremony started with Superintendent James Neihof introducing Collins Principal Anthony Hatchell.

"I believe he will bring academic greatness to this school," Neihof told the crowd.

Hatchell said his 'vision is for Collins to be Kentucky's exemplary high school," but he noted his minor conflict.

"I am and always will be a Rocket," he said. "I graduated from Shelby County High School in 1974 and began my career in education in 1978. And now, I'm ready to bring those traditions from Shelby County here to Collins, and we will continue the excellence of Shelby County Public Schools."

After Gov. Collins spoke to the crowd and the tours had ended, the common consensus remained.

"It's incredible, just a beautiful facility," said Jody League, whose daughter, Jessica, will be an eighth-grader. "I'm very impressed."

As it seemed everyone else was, too.

School starts today

Shelby County Public Schools gets back into action today.

Bus routes: Schedules are available at www.shelby.kyschools.us.

School hours: Elementary schools 7:40 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.; Middle schools 8:35-3:35; High schools 8:30-3:20

Meal prices: Elementary schools -- $1.05 for breakfast, $1.75 for lunch; Middle and high schools -- $1.05, $1.95.