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Prairie Hill Elementary opens with construction

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Students walked through the doors of the new Prairie Hill Elementary School for the first day of classes today. But construction crews are still putting the finishing touches on the building.

“We’re not all completely ready yet,” said Beth Mehmen, a third-grade teacher at the new building. “But we are just kind of working through it and the kids so far have been able to go with it and help us out.”

Mehmen said she typically spends all summer getting her classroom ready with furniture and supplies. But that wasn’t an option this year.

“Up until this week we really didn’t have access to our rooms or the building at all,” Mehmen said.

So that meant a scramble to get everything set up in just two days.

“All their equipment and furniture was in the rooms,” said principal Scott Schipper. “But it wasn’t all put away and some of it wasn’t even installed.”

Today, the wax still is drying on the brand new cafeteria floor, and empty boxes are in piles in hallways.

But teachers and staff are working around all of that.

“People just got to work and they were getting done what they needed to do,” Schipper said. “They knew everything was going to be OK because they were focused on the kids.”

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