VANCOUVER, Wash. - As Crestline Elementary students and staff prepare to the start the school year in a new building, one employee has been doing much of the heavy lifting.
"It's been quite an experience," said head custodian Melinda Siddiqui. "I've never opened a building up before, so there's a lot of things you have to get ready for."
Siddiqui has worked at Crestline for the past five years. Like most other students and staff, she was devastated when a fire destroyed the school in February 2013. A teenager later pleaded guilty to starting the fire.
"I turned on the TV and there's my school up in flames," she said. "I just sat on the couch and just cried and cried and it almost makes me want to cry now because it was so overwhelming."
Siddiqui kept her custodial job, working at other schools while a new building was being constructed. Now it's up to her to make sure things are ready for a dedication and ribbon cutting next week.
"It's my school," she said. "It's my responsibility. I own the responsibility of taking care of it."
Washington Governor Jay Inslee will be at the school Aug. 27 for the building's dedication. Students return for the first day of scool. on Se[t/ 3.
KATU News reporter Valerie Hurst recently went on a tour of the new school. You can see the video here.