Students return to class at Mitchell Middle School after fire

RACINE (WITI) -- Students at Mitchell Middle School are back in class.  Tuesday was their first day back since fire damaged the building last month. Many parents were smiling as they dropped their kids off Tuesday morning. Students were just as glad to be back.

“I'm just excited to see all my friends again. And I was really bored at home,” said sixth grader Salinas Rangel.

“Now we got the routine. Everyone is off to school, I'm going off to work, we have a routine now,” said Denise Cartagena, Salinas’s mother. “I’m really excited not just for the teachers and the school but the community in itself should definitely get a round of applause because they did come together for the school and the students.”

The fact everyone is able to come back so soon after what many viewed as a devastating fire is also thanks in part to the work done by the restoration company Paul Davis National.

“It’s amazing to see the work that’s been done. Its clean and it smells good. It’s almost good as new,” said Stacy Tapp, Chief of Communications and Community Engagement for the Racine Unified School District.

There are still some things to get used to inside the building. Some of the school had to be blocked off by a wall because of damage. The wall cuts off about 7 classrooms and some lockers.

“I can't get to my old locker, and my back pack is in there with some really important stuff,” said Rangel.

“It’s a loss in some ways, but teachers got new paint and new floors and things like that. So there's some excitement around that, and getting back to normal,” said Tapp.

School officials say they won't have to add any extra days to the school calendar. They already have 3 days added on to the end of the year because of the cold. To make up for the days lost because of the fire, they are instead starting earlier and ending later for the rest of the year.