More than 250 students at Hazel Trembath Elementary returned to class on Monday at their new temporary school.
A massive fire ripped through the school on Oct. 14, leaving the building gutted and students and staff in limbo. Coquitlam RCMP and fire officials have deemed the fire suspicious.
While the Coquitlam School District initially hoped students could go back last week, more work on the building was needed.
On Monday morning, students at the Winslow Centre, another school building, greeted the new arrivals with treats, balloons, and posters in an effort to make them feel at home during the transition.
“I am just really excited and nervous and I am super grateful for all the schools that helped us and donated stuff. It’s just really amazing,” said student Maya.
“(I miss) the playgrounds. It was really fun playing ‘grounders’ because it was the perfect height. It was really fun because there were three playgrounds so you didn’t have to play on just one.”
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The centre has been renovated to accommodate younger students.
“All the sinks had to be lowered in the bathrooms because it used to be a high school. Of course, the elementary students are a little bit shorter. The classrooms have been prepared, the shelves are full, and the libraries are full. Everything is ready to go for our kids,” said school board chair Michael Thomas.
“Our crews have been working around the clock to get this facility ready.”
According to Thomas, the district has arranged for bus transport for all 215 Hazel Trembath students to the new school.
An online fundraiser has also been set up to help replace what students lost in the fire.
— with files from Global’s Joshua Azizi and Emily Lazatin
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