Students return to repaired Murphy Elementary in Round Lake Park

  • First-grader David Cano high-fives Murphy Mustang on the first day of classes Wednesday at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park.

      First-grader David Cano high-fives Murphy Mustang on the first day of classes Wednesday at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Fourth-graders Paola Cruz and Fernanda Jimenez recite the Pledge of Allegiance Wednesday at Murphy Elementary School. Last year, the fourth-grade classrooms were rendered unusable by floodwaters.

      Fourth-graders Paola Cruz and Fernanda Jimenez recite the Pledge of Allegiance Wednesday at Murphy Elementary School. Last year, the fourth-grade classrooms were rendered unusable by floodwaters. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Kids make their way into Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park for the first day of school Wednesday.

      Kids make their way into Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park for the first day of school Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Fourth-grade instructor Kathy Williams teaches in a room that last year was rendered unusable by floodwaters.

      Fourth-grade instructor Kathy Williams teaches in a room that last year was rendered unusable by floodwaters. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Murphy Elementary School Principal Phil Georgia talks to a student during the first day of school Wednesday in Round Lake Park.

      Murphy Elementary School Principal Phil Georgia talks to a student during the first day of school Wednesday in Round Lake Park. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Kids eat breakfast in the multipurpose room during the first day of school Wednesday at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park. The room, which serves as the gymnasium and lunchroom, was rendered unusable by floodwaters last year.

      Kids eat breakfast in the multipurpose room during the first day of school Wednesday at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park. The room, which serves as the gymnasium and lunchroom, was rendered unusable by floodwaters last year. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • The Limitless Learning Commons is new this year at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park. It was built where the library and computer room used to be.

      The Limitless Learning Commons is new this year at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park. It was built where the library and computer room used to be. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • The music room at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park awaits its first students Wednesday.

      The music room at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park awaits its first students Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Kids and parents find out their classroom numbers during the first day of school Wednesday at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park.

      Kids and parents find out their classroom numbers during the first day of school Wednesday at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/15/2018 7:28 PM

The first day of school for students at Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park was special, and not just because a person in a giant horse costume greeted them Wednesday morning.

For the first time since floodwaters damaged their school last July, students were able to have physical education indoors, check out books from a library room and not have to use mobile classrooms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It is fantastic to have everything back online," Principal Phil Georgia said.

Last school year, the staff and students had to make do without their gymnasium, which doubled as a lunchroom, or their library and computer room. In addition, four classrooms on the lower level were rendered unusable.

Murphy held an all-school assembly in the revamped gym.

"We realized that the current second-graders had never even been in the gym before," Georgia said. "We got to do the school song and other community building things, and there were two grade levels of kids who didn't know the school song."

Georgia said the biggest addition this year is the Limitless Learning Commons, the school's new hybrid library and computer room, which features modular furniture and new technology. Last year there was a temporary library stocked with donated books set up in a hallway.

The school had so many donated books last year, the staff would sometimes tell students to keep the ones they liked. This year, students will need to learn how to check out books in the new system and bring them back, Georgia said.

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