After School Burns, L.I. Students Get Unexpected New Place to Study

By GLENN ZIMMERMAN
|  Monday, Feb 22, 2010  |  Updated 8:13 AM EDT
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After School Burns, L.I. Students Get Unexpected New Place to Study

NBCNewYork.com

The blaze ripped through the Long Island school overnight.

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Students on Long Island who saw their school destroyed by fire will get to finish out the school year a short distance away -- in an elementary school built 40 years ago that has never seen its first class -- until now.

Crews in West Babylon were busy Sunday cleaning up after last Thursday's fire that ravaged South Bay Elementary School, leaving no one injured.  Nearby, workers were also readying a building that is part of Lady of Grace Church to take in the 300 students displaced by the blaze.
 
Helen Butler, the Church Parishioner, explained that "the structure was originally built for a school only then at the time we didn’t have enough nuns.” 

The church used the space for religious classes and community groups, but it never fulfilled its final destiny as an elementary school filled with students.

However, on Tuesday, all 300 students from South Bay will stay together and keep their teachers in the new school.

The community rallied together to make the transition happen.

Deanoa Ercolino, a parent, said it was "great that they’re keeping them all together instead of trying to separate them all.”

 Anthony Cacciola, the School Superintendent, said they are taking rebuilding efforts one step at a time.

“My first plan is Tuesday then after that Tuesday to June and we keep building from there," he said.

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