The smell of linoleum was still fresh in the hallways of Hyde Leadership Charter School, and the blue and white colors on walls were vivid as students walked to their morning classes on Tuesday.
“If you look at the history here, it’s horrible,” said Ashlyn Paneto, 14, who acted as a student ambassador, giving tours of the new campus for the building’s official unveiling on Tuesday. “Now it’s changing little by little and the teachers are challenging us to succeed.”
Members of the Bronx community, educators and students packed into the gymnasium to hear from political leaders, financial supporters and school administrators. Herbert Fixler, the chairman of the school’s board, said the facility was the only college-preparatory school in Hunts Point.
“It’s on an avenue that has a reputation, and there’s nothing that looks like this,” said Mr. Fixler, pointing out the contrast between the school and the neighborhood. “We think we could be a real focal point of change in this community.”
The school opened its doors in 2006 offering only kindergarten and sixth grade. Two grades are being added each year, so that Hyde Leadership, a public school, is expected to have 1,000 pupils when the last grade is added next year.
The high school received a B in last year’s Department of Education progress report, but was not graded the year before because it did not exist.
Hyde has schools across the country, including campuses in Maine, Washington and Brooklyn. The group focuses on character development and parent involvement while preparing students for college.
Civic Builders, a nonprofit facilities developer for charter schools, owns the Bronx building, and the project was financed by Goldman Sachs’s Urban Investment Group and the Low Income Investment Fund.
Before State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr. and Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president, spoke, a handful of barefoot students in blue and pink costumes performed a dance number to Beyoncé’s “Halo.” Some female dancers wiped away tears as the audience gave a standing ovation.
One of the dancers, Amber Soloman, 16, said the celebration was moving and she loved sharing it with her friends.
“We worked really hard on that dance and it means so much to finally get it out and have so many people congratulating us,” said Amber, who lives in the South Bronx. “It’s confirmation that we did it.”
Senator Díaz commented on the performance and emphasized the importance of the school and what it meant for the neighborhood.
Look at the color of the performers’ skin, he said. “They’re minorities, brown and black.”
“This is Hunts Point,” he said. “This building belongs on Fifth Avenue, and we got it here because some of you decided to come and help our children.”
Before the new facility opened, high school students were sharing a building at 730 Bryant Avenue with children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Now the older students have their own space, in more ways than one.
Betsy Olney, the head of school, said students and teachers chose food vendors, colors and furniture.
“Some of that sense of pride comes from the ownership of them being part of the design process,” Ms. Olney said. “Our hope is a space that is conducive to collaboration and community.”
The building’s exterior stands out among the brown and red brick structures of Hunts Point Avenue. The blue trim gives the building a pop of color, and the lack of metal detectors makes the facility even less like most schools in the area.
“We’ve been told we’re crazy by a couple people in the neighborhood and other people who work at schools in the South Bronx,” Ms. Olney said. “We want students to feel like this is a place where we trust them.”
After standing with Senator Díaz to cut a second piece of the ribbon, Amber, the dancer, said the new school was a big step for Hunts Point.
“I think this gives the community something to look forward to — hope,” she said. “When people see Hyde Leadership Charter School they will smile and say, ‘I want my kids to go there.’”