Kennedy Elementary set to rise from the ashes

Imelda Rodriguez is a crossing guard in Mercedes.

"I've been doing this for 16 years and I have always been working for Kennedy Elementary," said Rodriguez.

That is, until John F. Kennedy Elementary closed its doors to 5th and 6th grade students in 2006 and has been rotting away ever since.

It TMs sad because it TMs such a beautiful. We miss it, said Rodriguez.

Imelda still serves as a crossing guard, but for students getting off busses from other schools instead of the 10 million dollar facility which sustained mold damage due to faulty construction and design.

"The exterior walls were letting moisture into the building which caused severe problems with mold," said Mercedes ISD Superintendent Dr. Daniel Trevino.

Trevino says it's time to breathe life into Kennedy Elementary and the school district is taking drastic measures to get that done.

"If we were to try to refurbish the classrooms, we don't feel they would be conducive to learning, therefore the classroom section will be demolished," said Trevino.

Roughly 30 thousand square feet of Kennedy Elementary will be torn down, but that does not include the state of the art Planetarium which will stay in tact as the only one of its kind in South Texas.

Crews are prepping the area gutting what used to be instructional classrooms filled with learning tools and laughter, turned sour by water leaks and dangerous mold.

After years of litigation over the poor construction of Kennedy, the Mercedes school district was awarded 5.5 million dollars.

Dr. Trevino says every cent of it will be used to reconstruct the portions of the school that are set to be scrapped.

The money lost on this school over the years may not ever get replenished, but Trevino says Mercedes students shouldn't have to suffer any longer for someone else's mistake.

"On August 2012 we will be able to facilitate a little over 500 students, that's exciting," said Trevino.

Imelda was just as happy to hear the news.

Demolition is set to begin Wednesday or Thursday.

Air conditioning in the remaining buildings will be completely refurbished.