By Angela Davis

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnehaha Academy is getting closer to returning to the campus that was rocked by a deadly explosion last year.

In August of 2017, an explosion at the school killed two employees and injured several other people.

Much of the upper school building had to be demolished after the explosion, but on Monday school leaders and students celebrated a milestone in the construction of a new building at the site.

“People are drawn to this site. Cars slow and pedestrians pause to take in the rebuilding progress,” said Dr. Donna Harris, president of Minnehaha Academy.

Even for the most optimistic, it was hard to imagine Minnehaha Academy moving past last year’s explosion. President Harris suffered two sprained ankles and a concussion, but never lost sight of turning tragedy into triumph.

“This project has deeply touched your hearts. It has touched mine. There is something about resilience and rising from the ashes that inspires,” said Harris.

About 75 graduating seniors who make up the Class of 2019 signed the last pillar to be placed on top of the new building. It was then hoisted into the air and positioned.

“I think it is really nice for the Class of 2019 to leave our mark on the new building since we don’t get to be there,” said Emma St. Andrew, a senior at Minnehaha Academy. “It’s like we are leaving our joy and spirit for Minnehaha in the building which I think is very important for us.”

“Hopefully it gives them a little closure. They loved their school. Those kids are tight. Most of them went to kindergarten together and on up, and they didn’t get to go back to this building,” said Emma’s Dad, Paul St. Andrew.

“We have not faltered in the nurture and development of the God-given gifts of students in the temporary site, but we are eager to return home,” said Dr. Harris said.

Officials say the building will open next fall.

If you to see what the new building will look like when it’s done, click here.

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