UNION TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Hundreds of Northwest Area middle and high school students returned to school Monday after a fire last month unexpectedly extended their summer vacations.
Flames damaged this middle school/high school building on August 18.
"It was kind of bittersweet. I mean, if you get like an extra summer vacation, you're kind of happy but then you realize other people are mad about it, too,” said Alexandra Fierman, a sophomore at the school.
State police said last month’s fire was an accident that damaged the second floor of the middle and high school building.
The start of school was supposed to be August 27. It was postponed for cleanup and repairs.
"I haven't really been able to see anyone on my summer break because everyone else is in school,” said eighth grader Ashton Raxie.
Primary and intermediate school students went back to school last week.
The middle school/high school building is not completely repaired. Classes have been shifted to other parts of the building.
"They're making headway, I know that. They said that a lot of the classes will be in the cafeteria and stuff like that, so yeah,” said sophomore Robert Booth.
"All her classes are in the gym, so it's like you know she's going to be mixed up. It’s her first year, so the whole entire area where she's supposed to be is now under construction,” said parent Sophia Johns of her seventh grade daughter.
School officials said the students received a waiver from the state and will not need to make up those days they missed.
They credit everyone in community with pulling together to get back to school.
More than 500 students attend seventh through 12th grade at Northwest Area.