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Sue Bush
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Molly Stark Elementary School set to reopen

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, March 14, 2005

Industrial fans are in operation at the Molly Stark Elementary School as a means to dry out classrooms saturated by Monday's early morning flood.
Bennington, Vt. - It's students, not water, expected to pour through the doors of the Molly Stark Elementary School on March 15.

The school is reopening on Tuesday after a broken water main on Orchard Road caused flooding at the site. The flood forced the school to shut down on March 7 and remain closed while a professional clean-up and repair work occurred.

School Principal Jurg Jenzer said earlier today that the school is ready to resume classes.

"We are reopening big time," Jenzer said. "We've worked hard and the classrooms are put back together. The teachers were here yesterday [Sunday], and things are back in place, everything is dry, and it's safe to be here. I think everything is going to go just fine."

Teachers are eager to get back to teaching, and the students are ready to return, Jenzer said. The teachers are prepared to answer student questions about the flood and its impacts, he added.

"The kids are real anxious to come back to school, believe it or not," Jenzer said.

The first post-flood school day will follow a normal schedule, Jenzer said, and added that a school appreciation celebration assembly that had been set to occur on March 7 is expected to take place on March 21.

While flood damage is estimated at thousands of dollars, precise numbers or even "guesstimates" cannot be calculated yet, Jenzer said. One challenge is that much material, data, and information assembled by teachers were lost to the flood, Jenzer said. In many cases, the destroyed materials were the product of cumulative work that covered more than one year.

"The biggest loss is in the lost teacher time and the collections that took a great deal of time to accumulate," Jenzer said. "This is acquired information and materials, and that's been pretty hard on some folks here."

But teachers and staff have risen above loss to ready the school for the students, Jenzer said.

"They all have the greatest attitude, and we all know that papers and things can be replaced," he said. "It's people that cannot be replaced, we all know that, and everyone is thankful that no one was hurt. We are ready to move forward."

Whether the students and teachers will be forced to extend the school year in June because of the unscheduled closing may be considered during the school district school board meeting on April 4. Jenzer said.
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