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Students get a vacation and a new elementary school

Students get a new elementary school and a vacation

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Students at Dora Erickson Elementary School have the entire week off. The mini vacation is so that teachers can move into their brand new building.
It is the first of four elementary schools in Idaho Falls School District 91 being built under a 2012 bond.

When you walk in the old Dora Erickson Elementary School, the first sign that greets you says "The perfect place for tiger cubs to learn and grow"

Perfect just got a little better. Closing the doors on the old school means finally opening the new 71,000-square-foot building.

"It will be a great environment for our students to learn and our teachers to teach, it's bright, it's cheery, we're just very excited about it," said Kelly Coughenour, principal at Dora Erickson.

Bright and cheery might not be the first words to come to mind about sixth-grade teacher Dustin Heath's old classroom. He recruited a little help to move into his new one.

"A whole bunch of sixth-graders volunteered their time, they don't have school this week, but they all said they wanted to come over and help out and I told them I'd give them pizza if they helped out," said Heath.

The kids will still get time off school, because moving will take their teachers the whole week. They won't miss out on class time, though, because the district has added a couple of minutes to everyday for the whole year to make up for it.

Once everyone is fully moved in to the new school, the district will pull whatever is salvageable from the old building, and demolish the rest.

The grounds of the old school will become a playground for the new one.

For teachers, though, their classrooms are a whole new playground.

"We have so many great capabilities with technology, and that's one of things that I've wanted to incorporate in my classroom a lot lately, and it's just been impossible when we have two outlets in our room," said Heath.

"I think that there's tons more space it feels like, a lot more places to store things, we are so excited about the new technology," said Becky Richhart, a fourth-grade teacher.

Students toured the school last Friday. Popular spots were the new stage and a special science classroom.

"The library, they are so excited about, they said 'It looks like the public library its so huge!'" said Richhart.

Heath believes all the improvements may help improve the learning process.

"It's not some rundown place. We're holding them to a higher standard of living at this school and of working at this school," he said.

The school opens Monday, Nov. 4. Parents can tour the school from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

The official grand opening is Nov. 18. There will be a ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m. Tours and an open house will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

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