Elementary school ruined by vandals, set to reopen

August 30, 2012 8:01:00 PM PDT
A Richmond elementary school building, torn apart by vandals last February, is reopening just in time for the new school year. The crime itself, however, remains unsolved.

Contractors are putting the finishing touches on Nystrom Elementary School's new building, again, "These floors were damaged, they were flooded," School Board President Charles Ramsey said. Ramsey showed ABC7 News all the work that's been done since last February when vandals broke in and nearly destroyed the building days before it was slated to open.

Ramsey says there was paint on the floor, graffiti on the walls, broken pipes that flooded everything, and shattered glass was everywhere, "All these windows had been destroyed. All of em." Ramsey says the repairs cost the school district a whopping $1 million. And notes the vandals are still on the loose, "It's clear that that wasn't a group of teenagers who did that. It was somebody who had a vendetta, somebody who was on a mission, and somebody who had an axe to grind against the contractor or against the West Contra Costa Unified School District."

With the building finally open, teachers say they're not just excited about the new space, but about the new learning opportunities that come with it, "We have one of the most updated libraries in the district," Nystrom Principal LaDonna Williams said. "We have all new books in the library." And Williams says she's excited about the computer lab that's stocked with PC's for up to 36 kids who might not have computers at home, "Because there's such a digital divide in communities like this, we want to make sure that our students have access to computers and that they have access to all the most updated technology.'

This includes technology for the arts, "The kids love doing plays," 5th and 6th grade teacher Oji Blackston said. "They love to create characters." Blackston says the auditorium was supposed to be used for last year's graduation, but it was too badly torn up, "It impacted the children. The students were very disappointed. They were very upset."

And with the crime still unsolved, they're not alone, "We're still very very upset," Ramsey said. "We want to see somebody brought to justice, and we want somebody to turn this person in."


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