March 24 2019
At least for now young students have a new school. Teachers and staff from Marysville Elementary School stream into Rose City Park Elementary. School buses are pulling up to the school, giving students a first glimpse of their new surroundings.
Banners welcoming students hang over the entrance to the building.
Volunteers spent all weekend getting the huge building all cleaned up and kid-friendly again. It was closed two years ago due to budget cuts.
Teachers say they think the kids will love their temporary school because it's three stories tall. Marysville was only one story tall.
As students arrived, electricians were working on one last detail: turning on exterior lights. "This is the last thing," said Portland schools electrician Bob Jacobs.
Over the weekend, scores of volunteers descended on the school to get it ready for Marysville students.
Marysville’s head custodian said the fire appeared concentrated in kindergarten and third grade classrooms. She said fire alarms went off during lunch period and the children filed out in an orderly fashion.
The custodian also said the fire might have started in the Discovery Zone, a hands-on classroom that allows students to learn about physics and engineering.
The kindergarten-through-eighth grade school offers a range of courses, including full-day kindergarten programs, SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods) classes and Saturday Academy classes. The school's playground had recently been renovated at a cost of $1.3 million from community partnerships, but was left untouched by the fire.
Marysville School, built in 1921, did not have fire sprinklers because the district has not had the resources to retrofit every school.
The displaced students and teachers will stay at Rose City Park, about five miles from Marysville, for the rest of the school year, said Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith. "We want them to settle in here," she said. "This is their new home."