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NEWORLEANS - Since Hurricane Katrina there has been a push to provide New Orleans students with better learning environments.

The effort continued Thursday with a groundbreaking for a new McDonogh 35 building.

Alumni and current students cheered and clapped as officials kicked off the start of construction. The enthusiastic crowd was singing the school's alma mater before the event was over.

The site at 1200 Senate Street along Bayou St. John will be the schools fifth home since it opened in 1917.

The 16-acre campus will hold 1,200 students from grades seven through 12.

The $55 million project will have computer and science laboratories and expanded facilities for visual and performing arts.

'This new building with this new technology will make it easier to achieve our goals, especially in science, engineering, technology and math. This is an investment in our future. On behalf of the class of 2018, our vision is now becoming a reality. We can't wait to get in there and use it,' said Kimmione Duncan, a McDonogh 35 student.

'Finally, and it only took 100 years, finally, McDonogh 35, the Roneagles, will have a home that is reflective of the outstanding students that go there,' said CityCouncilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, who represents District D.

The state-of-the-art building is expected to be completed in 2015.

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