FORT SMITH, Ark (KNWA/KFTA) — Students and staff entered the doors of Ballman Elementary School on Wednesday for the first time in almost two months.

Last year, Fort Smith Public Schools invested nearly 2.5 million dollars in a new HVAC system for the school.

Weeks before students and staff prepared to return to school in August, officials were notified the HVAC system would not be finished in time for the first day of school.

Ballman students and staff had to utilize spare classrooms and spaces at nearby Fairview Elementary School.

Volunteers and community officials gathered today to celebrate the new start with music and cheers as students arrived. Ballman principal Nancy Burris, says that it “felt just like Christmas”.

The long and anticipated day was filled with acts of gratitude and cheerful moments.