Two New Duluth Schools Open; Veteran Principal Gives Tour

Posted at: 09/09/2013 6:17 PM | Updated at: 09/09/2013 6:42 PM
By: Laurie Stribling

The last two schools to be built under Duluth's Red Plan are now open and ready for students.

Myers-Wilkins and Congdon Park elementaries are both newly renovated and Monday they welcomed students back to class.

With the excitement of a student, Myers-Wilkins Principal Stephanie Heilig showed off the new campus.

"Today is the day we have been looking forward to for many years," Heilig said.

Myers-Wilkins has all the newest gadgets including smartboards, iPads and a cafeteria that is double the size of the old one. While there are many new changes, there are a couple of things that will remain the same.

"It's so hard to even think about retiring," Heilig said.

Heilig has been with the Duluth School District for 39 years.

For about two decades, she's worn the same back-to-school dress.

"I have been wearing it for about 25 years every day on the first day of school," Heilig said.

Heilig's long career with the district has led to a tight-knit community at the school.

"I have kids of the kids I taught," Heilig said. "Even a couple grandkids of the kids that I've taught."

This year, getting ready for all those students meant some hard work.

"It's still a work in progress," teacher Jim Olson said. "A good 30 hours at this point getting my room set up."

Olson has been with the district for a decade and he's happy to see some changes.

"The kids are really excited about lockers," Olson said. "That will really help with organization. The building is set up with an awesome, new science lab."

While change can be good, the new school may make it harder for Heilig to ever hang up that dress.

The renovated Congdon Park Elementary also opened up Monday. There will be an open house there on September 19 from 3 to 7 p.m.

Myers-Wilkins' open house is September 21 from 1 to 4 p.m.

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