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      Lockwood School Back in Business After 16 Years

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      Kids and staff of Lockwood School are cheering Wednesday as Northwest Public Schools moves its preschool program from St. Libory to the old school building.

      They are back in business after 16 years when the school closed in 1997. Now the new building, located about 3 miles northeast of Grand Island off Highway 30 is seeing a full class of students on its first day, with growing morning and afternoon sessions.

      "We are completely full," said Principal Jeff Ellsworth. "For the first time in six years and for the first time also, we have a waiting list that we've begun."

      The preschool program gained nearly 1,000 square feet of space in the move but after over a decade of non–use, the building needed plenty of repairs before it was ready for students.

      Volunteers including parents, staff and board members spent the summer repainting and rebuilding. They also installed a refrigerator and stove for the new breakfast and lunch program.

      "We're serving a family style lunch which is the first time here in the district, which is something we've been striving for," said Ellsworth.

      Kathy Cochnar, a preschool teacher for over 15 years said, "It's been a lot of fun and seeing the kids eyes light up to see everything that's going on. The room, the atmosphere, we don't have to worry about the heating and cooling, they can watch outside the windows. It just feels like a home, rather than a school."

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