BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma - Bartlesville students head back to class Thursday, but teachers and staff got a head start Monday with a welcome celebration.

They not only celebrated the beginning of the school year, but the several changes coming for the Bruins.

Construction is wrapping up at Bartlesville High School's brand new commons area, thanks to a $39 million referendum approved by voters.

It's only one of many changes coming to the district this year, according to Superintendent Dr. Gary Quinn.

“For the first time in a number of years we're gonna have a 9-12 high school with a freshman academy, a new commons area - it's just a fantastic facility here at the high school,” he said.

The district closed its mid-high school so students will now go directly from eighth grade in middle school building to ninth grade in the high school building.

Madison Middle School students moved into the mid-high building permanently. Meanwhile, Central Middle School is being renovated, so those students will relocate to Madison for the time being.

Quinn said he knows it's a lot of change, and getting everyone to re-adjust will be a big project.

"It was a large one. Transporting our students to different buildings, we had to change our routes, a lot of our people had to change locations, a lot of teachers had to change buildings," he said.

But the superintendent assured that it's all for the better.

Construction at Central Middle School will last roughly a year, and then those students can return back to their original school.