WEST MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) – The new Boley Elementary School, rebuilt after the 2019 fire, is ready to welcome kids back to school. 

The original facility burned down in 2019 after a lightning strike hit the roof and fire spread in the attic. Boley Elementary School principal, Sandy Bates, says they are ready to take the next step.

“We’ve gone three and a half years from the time of the fire until we’re finally here and ready to open, and it’s exciting. We are exhausted, but exhilarated, and we are ready to go.” 

The opening of the new campus welcomed former and present teachers who expressed their excitement about the new improved school building. 

“It’s amazing. We are so fortunate to be back here in the same location to serve the kids of this community,” said Brittani Durand, a 4th-grade teacher. “It is a dream come true, truly.” 

“I’m so excited to get the children here. The faculty and the love from everyone have brought back a lot of memories, I’m not going to lie,” said Sherry Boyte, a 3rd-grade teacher. “I have so many thankful memories of all the community and things they have given us and helped us with.”

But a fire caused by a lightning strike burned the building to the ground on April 13, 2019. The school filed an insurance claim immediately. School officials say the budget to rebuild the new campus was $11.9 million. Bates says she still remembers the night of the fire. 

“Seeing that building burn down knowing that all those memories were there, it was just the most heartbreaking time of my life.” 

But there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Boley Elementary School is ready to move forward.

“We made it through that great, so after three years, we are here, and we are ready,” added Bates.

Classes will begin on Monday, August 15.