MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities school is making the best of their situation after a tragic summer.
Minnehaha Academy will dedicate their temporary campus Monday night, before school starts Tuesday.
The center portion of the Upper School exploded on Aug. 2 from an apparent gas leak. Two longtime employees were killed in the explosion — custodian John Carlson and receptionist Ruth Berg.
An office building in Mendota Heights will serve as the temporary new home for the upper school. A dedication will start at 7 p.m., but will no doubt be a somber celebration.
There was a lot to do to repurpose this industrial space into classrooms. But people worked through the day Monday, trying to make the best environment possible for the students and staff who have been through so much this past summer. People are truly trying to make the best of this improvised situation.
“We’ve done a lot of grieving,” Upper School Principal Jason Wenschlag said.
“We’ve had two funerals at our other campus, we had our unity walk and I think tonight is — you’re right, there’s that hard balance, we’re going to celebrate this facility but it’s just a building and it’s more about the kids and more about the school and the learning and what’s gonna happen here. So tonight is about really our faith and prayer and worship and really acknowledging God and the work he’s done in this and the work that’s going to happen here and just asking for blessings over our kids and the teachers and all the learning that’s going to happen over the course of this year.”
Students, staff and parents will gather at the new home at 7 p.m. No doubt there will be prayer and reflection — and also celebration for what’s ahead.
“Basically I’ve been celebrating the new building, the way the school year’s going to be in the honor of the people who were hurt and who died, keeping in mind their legacy that they’ve left behind but also just keeping, looking forward into the future,” sophomore Andrew Karpenko said.
The new building was transformed in just 15 days.
At 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, seniors will do an official ribbon cutting.