Mounds Students Return To School

Tuesday, October 30th 2007, 4:00 pm
By: News On 6

Students in Mounds returned to school on Tuesday, though many of them were in different classrooms than before. Mounds Elementary burned on October 20, the fire forced the cancellation of classes for all grades, which are on the same campus. It was a priority for the school district to keep the students together on the same campus, so they've juggled students in the middle and high school to make room for the elementary classes, and combined smaller classes into larger ones, with two teachers. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports they're doing this while waiting on portable classrooms to be delivered and set up.

Traffic lined up for a couple of blocks while parents dropped off their children for the first day back at school. The busses were back on their normal schedule, dropping off children right in front of the elementary school that burned. Christie Berklan said her second grader was ready to get back to class.

"He was sad at first, he cried and everything, he's doing okay now,” Mounds parent Christie Berklan said. “They're excited to get back and see their teachers and their classmates."

The superintendent personally directed students to their new classrooms on Tuesday, away from the burned building.

"We've got it completely fenced, it's closed off, we've routed everything away from there," said Gary Lundy, Mounds Superintendent.

The fire burned the school so completely it even destroyed things school officials hoped were safe. All of the schools records were in a vault, but the fire was so intense the records were lost.

Even though the state fire marshal determined it was an electrical problem that started the fire, investigators with the district's insurance company continue to examine the building and remove pieces they want to investigate further.

The fire was on the Saturday morning after fall break, so no students were endangered, but the building was a total loss. But, firefighters were able to keep the flames away from two surrounding buildings, where students are now back in the classroom.

“It's just another transition, and so far they've gone through it real smoothly,” parent Kristin Ellis said.

Mounds parent Kristin Ellis says she's already replaced what her fourth grader lost in the fire.

"He lost some gym shoes and a little note, so I wrote him a new note today as if it was the first day of school and we're on our way," said Ellis.

Currently the school is using photocopies of textbooks. Since the fire there has been a huge outpouring of support, and while some school supply drives continue, the superintendent says they have what they need for now.

Administrators say the biggest challenge will be replacing some of the important records they need which were lost in the fire, in particular the ones for special education students who have a lot of records tracking their progress.

Watch the video: Mounds Students Displaced By Fire Return To School

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