HOUSTON -

Hundreds of students at Atherton Elementary are heading back to school at a state-of-the-art building in northeast Houston.

The newly rebuilt school has been three years in the making, and now it’s open for the 2013-2014 school year.

Along with eager students, faculty, local leaders and alumni arrived Friday for a special dedication and celebration of the new building.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker expressed her support for the school and its principal, Dr. Albert Lemons.

For Dr. Lemons, this has been a passion project dedicated to his students.

“They are just having so much fun,” said Lemons. “I have to slow them down. It's so large they are running. So they are very excited for this school and I am excited for them.

The new building, which is part of Houston ISD, is filled with colorful rooms, smart boards and rows of computers.

School leaders hope that joy for the building translates into a successful school year for all of their students.

About 500 students attend Atherton Elementary, but the new building holds up to 750, so there is room to grow.