Surge of students prompts reopening of Longwood school

By Jeff Allen, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, August 07, 2017, 1:24 PM EDT

When students return to school in Seminole County, several hundred will step foot into a school that’s been closed for several years.

Longwood Elementary shut down in 2011, thanks to budget cuts after an economic downturn. But with bulging enrollment in the district, it decided to reopen the school, rezoning students to fill it up.

School administrators say the newly renovated building will be ready for students, but the school's reopening is still a work in progress.

Jennifer Gray lives across the street from Longwood Elementary and says crews have been working feverishly the past few weeks to get the school ready to open.

“The past couple of days have been chaotic,” Gray said. “An awful lot of construction going on.”

When she moved into her home across the street, the school was closed.

"I’m a little leery" about the reopening, Gray said. “I wasn’t anticipating the school opening up.”

The school didn’t just sit empty while it was closed. It housed office space for the school district, the city of Longwood and even the Longwood Fire Department. Those offices are now the reception area and front administrative office of the newly reopened elementary school.

“It actually looks really good,” Gray said.

Gray’s daughter, Haeleigh, was rezoned for Longwood Elementary. It’s her third school in three years.

“I kind of didn’t want to move schools again, but now I don’t have to get up as early,” Haeleigh said.

“You’re all going to have to make new friends, you’re all going to have new teachers. Nobody is going to know each other, so you’re all going to have something in common,” Gray said.