Hundreds of Vancouver families and students turned out to see the new Crestline Elementary School on Wednesday.
The new school is opening nearly 18 months after it was destroyed by arson.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called the campaign for the new school the single most inspiring story in the state.
“It is clear to me that you can burn down a building, but you cannot burn down a community’s commitment to its children,” Inslee said. “This community has shown this in spades.”
After the February 2013 fire, about 500 students were sent to five different elementary schools for the rest of that school year and spent the following year in a temporary school at the former Hewlett-Packard site in Vancouver.
The new school cost $18 million, paid for by insurance and the state. An addition $4 million was used to help with transportation and the move to the temporary school site.
Through tears, Crestline principal Bobbi Hite thanked the community for its patience and its efforts to get the school rebuilt.
“To be able to welcome our kids on Wednesday is just going to be an amazing experience and I just want to give you such a sincere thank you to everybody,” Hite said.
The first day of school is Wednesday, September 3.