Franklin Elementary School unveils multi-million dollar remodel after last year’s fire closed the building

MOLINE, Illinois--Principal Michele Pittington knows her school is doing more than rising from the ashes. She and the Moline-Coal Valley School District is unveiling what they call a 21st century learning environment.

The district held a ribbon cutting ceremony opening the newly remodeled Franklin Elementary School Monday, August 20.

“I hope everybody is happy and glad to be home. That’s the bottom line, we’re back together in our home,” says Pittington.

An electrical fire wiped out three classrooms in the back of the school last September. The added smoke and water damage forced the district to close entire building.

Franklin Elementary School students and staff settle in temporary location after fire

Now students will start a new school year with a new lobby, LED lighting, an open concept library, a new air conditioning system, smart boards and classrooms with adjustable glass walls between each class for a collaborative style of learning.

“If you would have asked me last year at this time what this building would have looked like, I would have never guessed it would look this nice,” says Superintendent McGuire.

McGuire says insurance covered most of the $7 million project, however the district paid about $2.5 million through funds collected from the one percent sales tax.

The upgrades also include a new automatic sprinkler system that did not exist before the fire.

Pittington says the school still needs a few things to make the new Franklin Elementary space fee like home.

For example, she says the school will start fundraising to buy new patio furniture for the school’s outside playing area.

“We have a need for new patio furniture that was ruined in the fire. However, it’s quite expensive. We will grow into this area,” says Pittington.

Doors will open for the first day of class Tuesday, August 21.