DENVER — Many students attending Swansea Elementary School, which was closed for smoke and fire damage repairs, come from low-income families and depend on the school for nutrition.
Workers are repairing damage at the school, located at 4650 Columbine St. in Denver, after a power surge may have caused a key electrical switchboard to catch fire Wednesday morning. The fire temporarily displaced 470 students.
The school's principal said wraparound services are being offered to students at Garden Place Academy, which is about 2 driving miles away. Those services include nutrition and other types of social service needs, said Gilberto Munoz, Swansea's principal.
"This is not something you plan for or prepare for or train for, so, yeah so these kinds of things definitely throw us for a loop," said Gilberto Munoz, Swansea Principal.
Eighteen Swansea students showed up to Garden Place Academy Friday, Munoz said.
Munoz said the school is also located near the massive Central 70 construction project, a $1.2 billion makeover of a 10-mile portion of the highway through north Denver.
"I-70 is a huge burden on the community right now — the construction of it, and something like this just adds to that," he said.
Munoz said projects like this can be a barrier to services.
"Leaving the neighborhood surprisingly can be very challenging for families; a lot of them don't have transportation," Munoz said.
Now, they have a problem nobody planned for, but Munoz said he hopes it can be fixed by next week. He said even after repairs are done, the fire department must sign off on the work before allowing students to return to Swansea.
"Families can rest assured that we wouldn't open [the] school unless we are absolutely sure that it is going to be safe," Munoz said.
School officials said class for first through fifth graders will resume Jan. 21. Kindergarten opens Jan. 22, but early childhood education and headstart are not expected to open until some time next week because they need further repairs
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