Soon the little footsteps in the halls of Nokesville Elementary School will be no more.
After 85 years, the historic school building will close at the end of this school year. The students, teachers and staff will move to a new location less than a mile away.
"I have taught here for 35 years, only in kindergarten as the kindergarten assistant," said Cindy Neal, who is sentimental over the move. "It's bittersweet, but it needs to be done."
Principal Eric Worcester said he sees "a wonderful building that has meant a lot to this community."
The small school opened in 1929 amid the Great Depression and once served as an elementary, middle and high school combined.
"My siblings went here; my mother went here, her siblings ..." said Barbara McIntosh, who works in the school’s library. Three generations, including her children, attended Nokesville ES.
But the aging structure -- and a booming Prince William County population -- signifies it's time for change.
"It's challenging having everybody so spread out throughout our campus," Worcester said.
Just down the street, the new school is filled with new technology.
"[It has] Smart Boards, LED projectors,” he said. “Our new media center is phenomenal."
And while excitement builds for the new space, there's hope the old will stay preserved. The school system is currently taking offers for its sale.
McIntosh has some thoughts on what it should become.
"Maybe a community, library or something for the Nokesville area," she said.
As for teachers like Neal, the move to a new school won't mean the end of her teaching.
"I'm not going anywhere," she said. "I'm not staying here. I'm going to the new school."