RACINE (WITI) -- Mitchell Middle School students return to Mitchell School and get back into the classroom on Tuesday, March 18th -- but on the evening of March 17th, students and parents got a look inside the school during an open house. This was the students first time back inside the school since fire ripped through the school’s gymnasium early Thursday, February 27th.
Last Wednesday, March 12th, demolition crews were on scene at Mitchell School — knocking down parts of the school that were damaged in the fire.
The fire was so intense, the gymnasium’s roof collapsed — and other parts of the school were damaged by smoke and water.
The middle school side of Mitchell School will be ready for students on Tuesday — thanks to the efforts of hundreds of people working every day, around the clock since the fire.
“We worked around the clock for about 10 days. It was probably about 450 people,” an individual with Paul Davis Restoration, which is handling repairs at the school told FOX6 News.
The school's superintendent says the school passed all of its environmental and safety standards by all the different inspectors.
Smoke and soot were cleaned up from classrooms — and everything inside the classrooms has been cleaned. Every library book was sanitized and placed back on the shelf. Some tiling was replaced due to water damage, and a special wall was built. Inside the wall are machines that can move about 2,500 cubic feet of air per minute, to help contain the odor.
A crew member said on Saturday around midnight, the team finished waxing the new floors that went in to the school.
Students say they’re ready to head back to school.
“I feel grateful and happy about it. I get to see my friends and the school and get back to learning,” Nijeria Hunter said.
The school's superintendent says the school day will be extended for about 15 minutes for the rest of the school year in order to make up the time that was lost.
School officials anticipate the fire damage to the entire property to be repaired by next fall so elementary students can return then as well.
Elementary students are finishing out the school year at the formerly vacant Wind Point Elementary School.