“It’s a second home for a lot of our students:” Racine’s Mitchell School just about ready for class

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RACINE (WITI) -- A winter fire at a local school forced some students to finish out the academic year at a different location -- and crews have spent the months since trying to repair the building for this academic school year. FOX6 News got a behind-the-scenes look at the restoration of Mitchell Elementary and Middle School.

Fire ripped through the elementary school’s gym on Thursday, February 27th — causing the roof to collapse. Other parts of the school were damaged by smoke and water. As result of the fire, elementary students had to finished out the school year at the formerly vacant Wind Point Elementary School.

Repairing the damage was estimated to cost around $8 million.

"Virtually everything in this building has been touched, from the mechanical systems to the walls to the ceilings and the lighting and the floors," Racine Unified School District’s Director of Buildings and Grounds Bryan Arnold said.

A district spokeswoman says they're excited that most of the repair work will be finished in time for them to welcome students back to the building to start the new school year.

"It's a second home for a lot of our students and it's where they learn, where they grow, where they really develop as a person, and so this is what they know," Racine Unified School District's Marketing and Communication specialist, Jane Flis said.

There is one portion of the project that will not be complete before classes start back up on Tuesday, September 2nd. School officials say they will be making special accommodations until that construction is done.

"It was both a gym and a cafeteria -- we're replacing that entirely with new construction that will be done the end of September, beginning of October," Arnold said.

Mitchell students will be back in the building on Tuesday, September 2nd for their first day of class.

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