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Lewis Elementary School was back in session Tuesday, for the first time since a monsoon storm battered the school and left it mostly unusable on Aug. 25, 2013. The school's 651 students have spent most of the 2013-14 school year in classrooms at other schools on the base.

Lewis Elementary back in session

Students return to campus for first time since Aug. 25 monsoon


FORT IRWIN • School was back in session at Lewis Elementary School on Tuesday, for the first time since last summer’s monsoon storm left the school 90 percent unusable.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday morning in honor of the school’s reopening, and the student population of more than 650 students is back on campus.

Fort Irwin suffered major flood damage in a series of thunderstorms during the summer, the worst coming in the form of a monsoon Aug. 25. The monsoon caused extensive damage throughout the base, with Lewis Elementary amongst the buildings that underwent the worst flooding.

SVUSD superintendent Marc Jackson told the Desert Dispatch in September that the school was 90 percent unusable in the aftermath of the monsoon. The school’s 651 students were relocated to Fort Irwin Middle School and Tiefort View Intermediate School by mid-September.

Jackson was in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, as well as Theodore Martin, commanding general of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin; Matt Knox, district director for U.S. Congressman Paul Cook; and Lewis Elementary School Principal Patty La Blanc.

“It was to recognize the fantastic journey of the Lewis staff,” Jackson said. “To celebrate the return of the students, the parents and the administrators to Lewis school.”

Those in attendance at the grand reopening ceremony viewed slides of the school after the damage, compared to now.

“It’s just good to be home,” La Blanc said.

Jackson said attendance for Lewis Elementary never dipped below 97 percent during the past five months, despite the home campus being unusable. 

“I know it was hard to go through this journey, because the Lewis staff, parents and students moved three times in the course of the semester,” Jackson said.

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