Martin Park Elementary opens new building - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Martin Park Elementary opens new building

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 ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- Almost 2 years after a fire burned down Martin Park Elementary School, students and faculty are returning to a brand new building. 


News Channel 5's Noelle Bellow got a sneak peek of the new facility, and spoke with administrators and teachers about their hopes for the school year. 

4th grade teacher Michelle Hays said, "It’s a beautiful building, we have tons of storage which we didn’t have prior. It’s got the new smell, when you come in, all new colors, new floors. The kids are really going to enjoy it."

The multi-million dollar project complete with fresh hallways and bigger classrooms might be a good thing, but he reason behind it, put students and teachers in an alternate building. 

"We were devastated when the fire occurred of course, it was not something we expected," remembers interim Principal Cathy Lewis. 

Back in October of 2012, Martin Park Elementary went up in lames. Luckily no one was injured, but the building was destroyed, forcing students and faculty to relocate. 

"A teachers classroom is their home away from home, and we lost everything, so it was devastating to have to start over," said Hays. 

"The district had an additional building and we were able to use that, we were fortunate enough to all stay together," said Lewis.   

Hay remembers, "we got desks from other schools, it was a learning experience for me because I was a fairly new teacher at the time and I was used to technology and we had nothing."

Though the fire disrupted Martin Park's school year, teachers say the students were still able to succeed. 

"Surprisingly it didn’t have the negative effect I thought it would've had. There was something that went through all the teachers, it was like adrenaline to succeed," said 1st grade teacher Beverly Hood. 

Hays said, "Last year we improved, through all the adversity we had, our school scores improved."

That's something they hope will continue. "I think every year they’re going to get higher and higher," said Hood. "Now we have the facility and the technology, we improved our scores without all of that, and now we have that so I'm hoping we can improve even more," said Hays.


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