Education

Elementary students on move after storms

Posted April 21, 2011 4:09 p.m. EDT
Updated April 21, 2011 10:42 p.m. EDT

— Students of Fayetteville's Ben Martin Elementary School are attending class amid chaos after severe weather last Saturday caused an estimated $5.2 million in damage to their school.

Parts of the roof were ripped clean off at the Reilly Road K-5 school when a band of tornadoes swept across the state. During a rebuilding process expected to take the rest of the year, the school's students will move from site to site. 

On Wednesday, about 75 percent of the roughly 620 students returned to E.E. Miller Recreation Center, at 1361 Rim Road. "Home is where you make it," said Principal Crystal Brown. First and second grade met in classrooms while third, fourth and fifth grade worked in the school gymnasium. 

After next week's spring break, students will be divided up between Ramsey Street Alternative School and the old Hillsborough Elementary School for the remainder of the year.

Teacher Laura Martyak said that, despite the changes, her charges were mostly able to stay on task. "They're kind of out of sorts. Even for those whose homes weren't damaged, they know something's different. They know they're in a different place," she said.

Martyak saved the seeds from a science project, and they are now growing in her new surroundings. "They're healthy and will soon be adults. So, we'll be able to see their whole life cycle," she said.

Cumberland County leaders expect the rebuilding of Ben Martin to last through the fall semester.