NewsHillsborough County


One year later: Students and staff have not returned to Lee Elementary School

Posted at 5:38 PM, Sep 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-12 18:30:42-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Wednesday marks one year since a fire destroyed an elementary school, forcing students and staff to use portables at another school.

Students and staff from Lee Elementary Magnet School of World Studies & Technology are temporarily located behind Lockhart Elementary Magnet School. 

“It’s really tough not having kind of that final timeline and plan yet. We do wish that the district would make a push to get us moving forward more quickly,” Taryn Sabia, a parent of two Lee Elementary students, said.


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According to district officials, it is a long process to rebuild and they want to be ready. They have selected an architect, but continue to gather information before they give the board its recommendation.

“There are memories and things that will never be able to be replaced,” Principal Beverly Smith said.

The fire happened a few days after Hurricane Irma. Investigators blamed a failure in the electrical system for the damage. On the one year anniversary of the fire, students and staff celebrated their journey and the community’s support. They hope they can rebuild soon. 

“There’s this feeling in the pit of your stomach that’s a reminder of what you no longer have,” Principal Smith said.