Rebuilt James Monroe Elementary School to reopen next month following massive fire

An Edison elementary school destroyed by a massive fire is set to reopen next month.



James Monroe Elementary School is set to reopen Jan. 3, nearly three years after a fire sparked by a former custodian's discarded cigarette burned the school to the ground. He was cited for smoking in a non-smoking area.



"It's been a long journey since that tragic evening in March but we've built on it," says Edison School Superintendent Richard O'Malley.



After a legal battle, the insurance company agreed to pay $19 million to rebuild the school, with some added improvements. A second floor has been added, along with a gym, a stage and a cafeteria.



Principal Lynda Zapoticzny says that the reopening is emotional.



"Once I got in it, it felt very familiar. It felt like home," she says.



Almost everything inside the school is new, except for the school's sign, one of the only things to survive the fire.



There will be an open house on Saturday for parents and students to get a tour of the new school.



Students have been attending classes in the former Saint Ceceli's school in Iselin for the past two years while James Monroe was rebuilt.


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