By John Burton
MONMOUTH BEACH — It may have been raining outside, but you wouldn’t know it inside of the Monmouth Beach Elementary School Monday morning where it was all sunshine and happiness.
The bright, smiling faces and the bustle of activity was for the staff and students’ first day back since damage from Super Storm Sandy forced the building school to be close.
“Look, everyone is smiling,” said Jen Loxton, the school’s library/media specialist, who was smiling herself as students, staff and parents swirled around the halls of the newly renovated school at 7 Hastings Place which was flooded and sustained considerable damage from the late October storm.
“It feels great,” to be back in the building, Loxton said.
Loxton had been a “librarian without a library,” for more than seven months.
The school, which has about 300 students, was flooded when about 2 feet of water sweep through it, ruining books and supplies, carpet and furniture and school records. It also wrecked the heating and electrical systems.
The work to restore the structure cost approximately $2 million, according to Superintendent Brian Farrell.
In the interim, Monmouth Beach students, faculty and staff went to the West Long Branch and Oceanport school districts and Shore Regional High School for instruction.
It had been a difficult time for everyone, with Loxton noting she was “pretty much living out of a bag,” as she traveled to the three different locations.
See additional details and students’ comment in the June 7 edition of The Two River Times.