Langley students headed back to school on Tuesday, as the new academic year started for all 42 schools in the district.
The day was particularly special for staff and students at one location in WIlloughby.
The gym floor was free of scuff marks, and the basketball nets were bunched up under the hoops, having never seen a ball pass through.
The school library shelves were still a little empty, and the outdoor PA system didn't quite work yet.
The brand-new Richard Bulpitt Elementary opened its doors on Tuesday for the first time, adding another elementary school to Langley's fast-growing northwestern area.
Parents and kids met the new staff and principal Lucy Lenko under typical fall weather - a heavy dark cloud hung over the grounds and dumped heavy rain during a flag raising ceremony.
That didn't stop some family members of the school's namesake from raising the B.C. and Canadian flags for the first time.
The school is named for the late Langley superintendent of schools Richard Bulpitt.
A well-liked administrator, he died suddenly in 2007 of a heart attack while on a missions trip in Hanoi, Vietnam.
"This is such an honour," said Valerie, Richard's wife, after the flag raising.
She had stopped by the previous day to tour the school with Lenko, who knew and trained under Bulpitt.
"It's wonderful to see my husband's legacy continued," said Valerie.
Also at the flag raising were Cindy Moller, the Bulpitts' daughter, grandson Phoenix Moller, and the Bulpitts' son Corey.
Bulpitt's most recent successor as district superintendent, Suzanne Hoffman, was also there to watch the school open.
Richard Bulpitt Elementary, designed for Kindergarten to Grade 5, is a two-storey school with capacity for up to 510 students. Built east of 208th Street on 77A Avenue, it is one of several schools built or planned in recent years to take the pressure off R.C. Garnett and Willoughby Elementary schools, both of which are overcrowded and have a number of portable classrooms.
The oldest students from next year to the new middle school currently under construction just to the west of 208th Street on 84th Avenue.
The late Richard Bulpitt retired as superintendent of schools in 2000, after a 35-year career as educator and principal. He had worked at the board office, and as a principal at Belmont, Noel Booth, and Fort Langley Elementary schools, as well as at Langley Fine Arts.
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