‘We’re back home’

Teachers and administrators moved materials back into Longfellow Elementary Thursday, after two years of holding school in portable classrooms.

“It just really feels like we’re back home,” said principal Tracey Lawson.

The school was heavily damaged during the flood of 2011 and it has taken two years to restore the building, as well as to add on a new addition that will replace Lincoln Elementary, which was destroyed in the flood.

Lawson said Minot Public Schools custodial staff and about 70 volunteers from Minot Air Force Base helped move boxes into the school.

“We were done by 1:30 p.m. (Thursday),” said Lawson.

Now teachers and administrators will spend the next few weeks unpacking boxes and getting classrooms and offices ready for the upcoming school year. Classes are set to resume Aug. 28.

Lawson said children will like the new school, with its warm, yellow-painted hallways. Architects left many of the original design elements in the school, such as brass, rounded stairway banisters. The result is a harmonious blend of the modern and the antique. This year’s first and second graders have never attended classes in a regular school building, said Lawson.

“They are going to be amazed,” she said.

Work is continuing on the Lewis and Clark Elementary in north Minot, which also underwent renovation and the construction of a classroom addition, said Supt. Mark Vollmer, but that school will also be ready for students on the first day of school.

The new Erik Ramstad Middle School, still under construction, won’t be ready for students until after Thanksgiving. Ramstad students will start the school year in Minot Municipal Auditorium, where they have attended classes since the flood. Ramstad was destroyed in the flood of 2011.