Former teachers at Longfellow Elementary said the newly renovated school looks very different than it did when they were teaching back in the 1950s and 1960s.
"Look at the size of the classrooms," said Lowell Latimer, a retired Minot Public School administrator.
The school, which held an open house Monday evening, offered tours to members of the public, among them retired teachers like Curt Medalen, Judy Einarson, Delores Howe, Lorraine Medalen, Jean Chantland and Ann Latimer.
Retired former Longfellow teachers and friends pose for a photo during an open house for the newly renovated Longfellow on Monday evening. They are back row, Curt Medalen, Judy Einarson, Betty Lewis, Deloris Howe, Lowell Latimer; front row: Ann Latimer, Lorraine Medalen and Jean Chantland.
Back in their teaching days, they recalled that class sizes were a lot larger, while the classrooms were smaller. There were over 30 kids to a class and no teacher aides. Teachers were also responsible for managing recess duty. But teachers these days have a difficult job too, they said, because times are different.
Longfellow principal Tracey Lawson said she's happy with everything about the new school, from the bigger classrooms to improved security, to more ports for technology.
Parents, teachers, paraprofessionals and students who attended the open house said they are happy with the newly renovated school and its addition, which finally opened this fall two years after the flood. The old Longfellow campus was damaged in the Souris River Flood. The new addition replaces the old Lincoln Elementary, which was destroyed by the flood.
The school also held a grand opening for a new $125,000 playground, paid for through donations by Lions Clubs across the state, the Minot Area Community Foundation and other groups such as Minot Junior Golf and the Heritage Singers.
Josh Ressler, a member of the Magic City Lions, said the original donations came in after the flood and area Lions Clubs did more fundraising to help complete the project. They wanted a project that would not only help kids at Longfellow but also families in the surrounding neighborhoods that were flooded.
The new playground equipment was available on the first day of school this fall. Ressler said his daughter, a second-grader, and her schoolmates love playing on it and make up new games every day.
"She says it's the best playground she's ever seen," said Ressler.
The new school looks so good that past students Tia Haskins and Carson Abrahamson, both 12, said they're a little jealous of the younger kids. However, students at Erik Ramstad Middle School, currently located at the Minot Municipal Auditorium, will get their own new school in December. The new school under construction in northwest Minot will be ready for occupancy after the Thanksgiving break.