ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - On Tuesday students said goodbye to an Apopka elementary school that is about to be demolished.
9 Investigates exposed the dangers at Wheatley Elementary School, in Apopka.
Messages written in bold bright paint show that many of the students at Wheatley Elementary love their school. But next year students will be going to a different building as the school is demolished to make way for a new building.
With cups and brushes in hand, Wheatley students wrote their goodbyes on the 60-year-old school building.
The fresh paint in the hallways is a stark contrast to the conditions inside much of the building.
"It's moldy in the classroom, but it's fine, because when we get a new school it's going to be better," said
fourth-grader Jahagani McQueen.
Channel 9 first exposed termite-infested floors, rusted pipes and rodent droppings in the school in February.
After months of reporting on the hazardous conditions the district moved up plans to tear the building down by a year.
"I think it will be more healthy for the kids and there's no rusty pipes anymore, they won't have to worry about the rats and all that anymore," said parent Lisa Hughley.
Many of the messages being painted on the wall Tuesday said students and staff will be back stronger.
In many ways the event was a way for students to say goodbye, while starting over with a blank slate.
"I think it's not so much the goodbyes as the hellos that are coming in August 2014," said Orange County School Board Member Christine Moore.
Students said they look forward to returning to see a new school.
"New classrooms and all that and seeing how big the school is," said
fourth-grade student Paul Ramirez.
Wednesday is the last day that students will step foot in the building. It is scheduled to be torn down as early as next month.