Robert E. Lee students relocated to Lockhart Elementary after fire destroys school

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Teachers at Robert E. Lee Elementary School will begin to get classrooms ready for students at a new location after a fire destroyed their school on Tuesday night.

Robert E. Lee Elementary is one of Tampa’s oldest schools. It is now mostly cinders after it went up in flames.

Crews began battling the fire at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday and called for a third alarm to bring more equipment and personnel to the scene.  Fire officials said the roof showed signs of collapse, so they pulled firefighters from inside the beginning and began attacking the fire from the outside.

On Wednesday morning, smoke was still coming from the charred school. The fire is still under investigation and preliminary information indicates it does not appear suspicious.

Students, teachers and staff will be relocated to Lockhart Elementary for school. School will be in session on Monday

On Friday, about 200 teachers and staff will be at Lockhart, preparing the new classrooms for students to arrive on Monday. Teachers will be able to “shop” the Mobile Teacher Tools store, and then decorate the classroom.

Teachers say they will be ready for school to begin at the new location on Monday.

“I am confident we are going to feel that same love and support that we always have had, here on Monday, plus 10 times more. It will not get fix overnight, but it will get fixed as long as we stick together as a community,” said Samantha Levine, a teacher at Robert E. Lee Elementary.

The 3-story brick building, which is located on East Columbus Drive was built in 1906.  According to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser website, the value of the building is $2,700,000.  Fire officials said the content of the school is valued at $2,275,000 for a total damage estimate of $4,975,000.

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