As bells rang in schools throughout Carson City on Tuesday, students realized summer had come to an end. However, it was music to Carson High School principal Glen Adair's ears.
"I live for that moment when the first bell rings," he said. "This is my source of strength. There's a positive energy when this place is full of kids."
But when 2,602 students showed up for the first day of school, with more expected to trickle in through Labor Day, Adair is left asking if there can be too much of a good thing.
He said some math classes have more than 40 students and even elective courses are beyond capacity. And in the hallways, movement sometimes stops for about two minutes as traffic bottlenecks at the stairwells.
"We're really not complaining but I'm shooting off a red flare," Adair said. "It's not an SOS but we need to pay attention here. We just need to figure out how to get more space."
And, he said, once the students fall into their normal routine and freshmen figure out where the different sets of stairs are located, he expects crowds will thin.
Senior Heather Gordon, 17, said her experience has proven the same.
"It will get better tomorrow," she said. "It seemed like it was so hard to walk through the halls."
Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the Carson City School District said elementary schools, reported less students this year than last year with a slight increase at the secondary level.
The 2000 bond created additional space at some of the most crowded schools in the district, including the high school. Two chemistry labs were added to Carson High and a remodel of the school's rifle range formed two new classrooms.
The $18 million school bond, passed in the 2000 election, was designed to make general improvements throughout the district, from replacing heating and plumbing systems to redesigning school offices and redirecting bus traffic.
The projects were complete, except for some detailing and pavement sealing, before students returned to school Tuesday.
"I'm loving it," Mitchell said. "It's a good feeling to know we've got it all completed. We have much safer schools and much more efficient schools."