Work almost done on Union 8th Grade center after fire

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Updated: 8/14/2013 5:39 pm Published: 8/14/2013 4:17 pm

School is only five days away for students at the Union Eighth Grade Center and it couldn't have started much sooner.

Just three weeks ago, a lightning strike started a fire at the school. Early estimates show the cost to repair the damage was more than $650,000.

Water and smoke damaged a hallway inside the building, but the flames stayed in the roof above the sprinkler line.

Except for some cosmetic things, all the interior damage is fixed now, days before school starts Monday.

The exterior damage, the damage on the roof, was worse.

Three weeks later, crews are still working on it, but it's close to being finished.

The school staff is rolling with the punches.

"It's been a little bit more of a challenge, but we've taken it on, and we're excited about what's going to happen," said Principal Marla Robinson.

Teachers weren't able to get into their classrooms to prepare for the school year until Tuesday.

For Monta Ewing, that's a couple of weeks late start.

"My main goal is to have their room look like it's been ready the entire summer so that when the students walk in Monday that they don't feel any kind of sense of disorganization. We will be ready for those kiddos on Monday," said Ewing.

The staff will be ready for the kids, but the kids may not be ready for their first year in the Eighth Grade Center.

The fire and repair work means students won't be able to tour their new school until the first day of class.

Principal Robinson told FOX23 there will be adjustments to make it easier on the kids.

"We're going to shorten our classes, have extended passing periods, have a locker time set aside during an assembly and our teachers are going to work with us to help them kind of make that transition," she said.

Rain this week put roof repair behind schedule, but they still hope to be done by Sunday.

If they have to finish up after school starts, crews will work around the students' schedule -- either before or after class.

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