Louisa School Moving to Building for First Time since 2011 Quake
A new elementary school is just weeks away from opening on the footprint of one of the two Louisa County schools condemned after the 2011 earthquake.
Teachers are packing up to prepare for the big move. The school year ends next Friday, and teachers at the temporary Thomas Jefferson Elementary School need to clear out of their mobile classrooms by the time movers come on Monday.
They'll transport all those boxes to the new Thomas Jefferson, the $13.5 million replacement for the one destroyed by the earthquake in August of 2011.
Trailers have housed Thomas Jefferson since the quake, but that means classrooms don't have running water.
Students and teachers have to go outside to get to port-a-johns or to get to lunch in the cafeteria next door at Trevilians Elementary School.
Louisa's superintendent, Deborah Pettit, says the move back into a building is an exciting one that's bringing back memories.
“Those teachers who were with those young children inside that building when it shook so badly, there's a lot of emotion attached to it. Several of them said they were thrilled to be in the new building, but it brought back the emotions of that day,” Pettit said.
Third-grade Thomas Jefferson teacher Linda Martin is boxing up nine years of belongings - including some classroom mementos pulled from the rubble of the old school.
“As much as we can, after school and on weekends, we've been putting things in boxes slowly but surely whatever we don't need,” she said.
The last time Martin's third-grade classroom made a move, professional packers rushed to grab what they could from the rubble of the earthquake-condemned school.
“You would open a box and find part of your ceiling or part of a wall in the box,” Martin said.
For some of Martin’s students, it will be their first time attending school inside a building. A ribbon-cutting for the new Thomas Jefferson Elementary School is scheduled for July 28, a few weeks before students walk into that school for the first day of class on August 13.
Thomas Jefferson isn't the county's only earthquake project. Two other elementary schools are getting repairs to cracked walls this summer. And construction on the new Louisa County High School is about a third of the way done.
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