Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
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HAMMOND -While work to clean up and tear out fire damage on one side of Hammond Eastside Elementary was on-going Monday morning, school work was finally underway across the rest of the building after a week long delay to kick off classes.
'Worked Saturday,' said Principal Maureen Terese of the teachers. 'They worked yesterday. We had our open house from 3-5 last night, which was wonderfully attended and that gave the parents the opportunity to come into the school and see that everything was fine.'
The fire from two weeks ago displaced several offices and the teachers' lounge, which is now an emptied out storage room in the library, where lunch is among scattered book shelves and printers.And Monday, some teachers didn't even have a space to call their own.
'I've already had about five or six people say, 'Deshea if you need a place to work, a computer, a phone to use, please don't hesitate just come on in,'' said Primary Years Program Coordinator Deshea Johnson,
Before classes could start, all ceiling tiles, insulation, and vents had to be cleaned and replaced in more than 60 classrooms, hallways and offices that weren't burned.
'Even though it was a very unfortunate situation, we were able to kind of work around it without a lot of unnecessary movement of classrooms,' said Terese.
Plenty of community support pitched in for the 'make it work' moment too.
Terese said, 'Our parents were here helping us, people from the community have volunteered. I mean it's just a horrible thing like this, but this is when you see your community come together and really reach out.'
District leaders say the Fire Marshal's Office has not determined a cause of the fire yet.The school board will discuss the repair progress at its meeting tomorrow night.The school hopes to get back to normal by mid-semester.
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