School makes much anticipated return - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

School makes much anticipated return

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by Bryan Goettel

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - To children, school is a second home.  That's why it meant so much to the Cedar Rapids community to repair a school damaged in last year's flood.

Taylor Elementary closed this past school year after it took on three feet of water.

Tuesday, parents got a tour of the repaired building.

From a new floor made of recycled glass to brand new lockers, it's all new inside as Taylor Elementary School is back and better than ever.

They came by the hundreds to see their school...rebuilt.

"A lot of hard work through this past year especially the last five or six months getting the building back in shape," principal Brian Christoffersen said.

"This is almost overwhelming," building secretary Cynthia Waterman said. "It's great to be back here."

Just over a year ago, families in the Taylor school district not only had to deal with leaving their homes, the flood forced them to find a new school.

"It was a mess," Taylor parent Danielle Reed said. "We didn't know where to go, where to start where to end. We didn't know anything."

After preschool and kindergarten at Taylor, Reed's son, Caleb, spent first grade at Cleveland.

"We cried a lot," Reed said.

"It was hard because I didn't have friends to play with," her son, Caleb, said.

For dozens of families like the Reeds, Tuesday's open house is a big step forward.

"Our plan was to encourage those families," Waterman said. "This was devastating to them."

"Things will change," Danielle Reed said. "It'll be for the better."

The Reeds have had to deal with a lot of unwelcome change. But seeing the new Taylor proves that much more than a school has been rebuilt.

"It's different," Danielle Reed said. "Very, very different."

"It's probably going to be fun," Caleb Reed said when asked about starting second grade in the fall. 

For the past several months, Taylor staff members have been using a chart to keep track of how many students are re-enrolling the school. Currently it sits at 141, creeping ever-so closer to the pre-flood numbers of more than 200.

Taylor will reopen at the start of school year on August 25th.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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