GALVESTON — Five years, 11 months and 10 days ago, the Burnet Elementary School closed its doors, along with the rest of the schools in the Galveston Independent School District, as Hurricane Ike bore down on the island.

A day later, floodwaters inundated the school, wreaking havoc on its interior and leaving it uninhabitable. It stayed that way for six years

On Friday, it was finally time to reopen.

Students and parents flocked to the Stewart Road school Friday to drop off supplies and meet the teachers who will educate them during the next school year.

The school officially opens Monday.

In the main entry way of the school, principal Beatriz Rodriguez stood greeting the families and handing out maps. On walls behind her, poster-sized pieces of ruled paper showed which students were paired with which teachers.

Rodriguez, who’s been principal of the Early Childhood University for five years, said the last two weeks of summer have been a scramble of getting furniture in place and small issues buttoned up.

“Like any new beginning, there’s always some challenges, but we’re planning on being as prepared as we can,” Rodriguez said.

Most of the 450 or so students whoously attended Early Childhood University at Weis, a district spokesman said. But some families did decide to make the switch from other elementary schools because of the school’s neighborhood location.

Officials say Burnet, which was renovated using about $5 million in FEMA disaster recovery funds, is better suited toward the younger students who had been using Weis, which has traditionally been a middle school.

“Definitely the counters are an elementary level,” Rodriguez said.

In the school’s renovated gymnasium (which is still waiting for a pair of basketball hoops to be installed) brothers Mason and Cannon King took a lap around the freshly polished basketball court.

Burnet’s a lot fresher looking than Weis, said their mother Carrie King, and it’s a little closer to home than the other school. But some things might take a little getting used to.

“The cafeteria here is a lot smaller,” said Mason, who is going into second grade, said of his first impressions of the school.

The school district will hold an open house on Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., for community members to tour the renovated school.

Contact John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or

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