Students return to new and improved Marysville School

Students return to new and improved Marysville School »Play Video
Students return to Marysville School on Monday, Jan. 7. Fire destroyed most of the building in 2009. (Photo by Melanie Wingo, KATU News)

PORTLAND, Ore. – School bells are ringing again at Marysville School.

The Southeast Portland school had been closed for over three years after a fire gutted the building in 2009.

Students returned to their new and improved school Monday morning. The building has a new library, gym and sprinkler system that wasn’t there before the fire.

"It's a little bit of a surreal experience right now," said Marysville Principal Lana Penley. "We are just thrilled."

Firefighters were never able to figure out what caused the fire.

Most Marysville students had to take a five-mile bus ride to the old Rose City Park School for the last three years.

In 2011, Portland Public Schools decided to rebuild and upgrade the Marysville campus.

Families and students told KATU News they're happy to have their neighborhood school back.

"I'm happy 'cause it's close to my house and I get to walk to my school and I don't have to take buses," said Marysville student Arthur Balboa.

"He's really excited. He's like 'mom I'm going to the new building,'" said mother Yessica Hernandez.

Many students at the kindergarten through eighth grade school said they remembered being at school the day of the fire.

"There was smoke everywhere and I couldn't see where I was going," said sixth grade student Evelyn Hernandez. "When I finally came out, there was all these fires on the roof and lots of people everywhere."

Evelyn and her friends were in third grade at the time, and said they were looking forward to returning to their school.

"I like the building and I'm looking forward to looking in here," said Delilah Mitchell.

"We have lockers, which we didn't have at the other school," said Angelica Alacon.