Here Comes the Sun

College Park Elementary School

Those who live at the coast are no stranger to Mother Nature. They are attuned to the tides, can probably tell you which fish are biting today, and know how to “keep a weather eye on the horizon.” These skills become particularly important during the months from June to November: hurricane season.

For people along the North Carolina coast, 2018’s hurricane season was one for the record books. When Hurricane Florence arrived in September, the storm stalled just offshore, dumping unprecedented amounts of water from New Bern to Wilmington. Coupled with the devastating storm surge and inland flooding, Florence was one of the most expensive and damaging storms in the region’s history.

For students at College Park Elementary School, the storm wreaked havoc on an already unsettled school year. The elementary schoolers had said goodbye to their old school in the spring of 2017, a 1964 building which was known for being dark, dated, and disorienting. Built in 1964 with additions in 1967 and 1969, the building had outlived its service life and struggled to meet the needs of a growing population. The low roof, tiny windows, hodgepodge of partitions, and quaint beehive structure made the campus difficult to navigate and impossible to secure. It was time to provide a modern learning environment for College Park’s students, though the demolition and construction meant the students would spend two years in a temporary swing school.

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