New School Year, New Building for Louisa Students 3 Years After Earthquake

August 13, 2014

"We are so excited. When the halls were empty, I have been walking the halls just imagining kids in them and now its reality," says Thomas Jefferson Elementary Principal Candace Wilkerson.

Wilkerson says it has been a long journey and Wednesday was definitely rewarding.

"I got a little emotional when the kids were in their classrooms. I was excited to see the buses roll in and when they were actually in their rooms and I took the walk around just to say good morning to them in their rooms, it was a little bit of emotion," she says.

During Wilkerson's first year as principal an earthquake shook the school so badly it had to be rebuilt. Students and teachers had to make due with a temporary campus on the soccer field of nearby Trevilians Elementary for three years.

"We were outside. Our hallways were outdoors until now. Bathrooms were outdoors until now, so it's great to just be in a building and have more instruction time for my students, it's phenomenal," says Wilkerson.

The new school has updated heating and cooling features that weren't possible at the previous aging structure and is equipped to handle many more students.

In fact, this year's numbers are up 20 students which could be because of the new building or just because more people are moving into Louisa County. Either way, Wilkerson says the new facility is a big hit with the kids.

"We have a few kids that have never actually been in a building. They started kindergarten in trailers, so a building is a new experience for them," she says.

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