RACINE (WITI) -- Mitchell Elementary School students went back to class Wednesday, but not in their usual building. A fire destroyed much of the school last week and sent administrators frantically searching for a place to hold more than 400 students for the rest of the year. They found it at what was once Wind Point Elementary School.
It took staff less than a week to get the once vacant building ready for students and teachers.
“My staff has been working diligently. People do not know how hard they have been working and trying to get donations, even meeting outside of school,” said Issac Kirkwood, the Principal of Mitchell Elementary School.
On Wednesday morning, students were greeted at the doors by teachers and administrators clapping and hugging them.
“It's going to be interesting because we are just coming here with no school supplies or anything because all those things are in our old school,” said 11-year-old Dustin Woodward as he walked into school.
“I am sort of glad to be back in school because it`s been a little while and I’m wondering what they are going to do for homework now or if they have the same plan,” wondered 10-year-old Donovan Woodward.
“I’m so happy, they’re so happy. They couldn’t wait to get back,” said Mayyer Lee, a parent of two kids at Mitchell Elementary.
Some students were dropped off by their parents, while others took the bus. Before the fire, only three buses were used. Many kids were able to walk to school. But now this new building is located 25 minutes from that, so now there are about 10 buses used.
Inside the building, banners welcoming kids back lined the walls, staff members wore t-shirts that said “We Are Mitchell” and there was also a school assembly. There are too many kids at Mitchell to all fit into the new gym, so the students were split into two groups for the assembly. Each group was able to meet some of the fire fighters who fought the fire at their school, and were able to ask them questions.
“It’s good to see their faces light up when they ask the questions and they`re getting the answers they`re looking for. Because again it`s a lot of uncertainty, it`s a new environment for them right now,” said Steven Hansen, the Racine Fire Chief.