HUNTINGTON BEACH ( — A school forced to close last year after asbestos was found reopened Wednesday to great fanfare in Huntington Beach.

District officials, teachers and students returned for their first day of school at Hope View Elementary School, following a year of being bused to other campuses and districts and classrooms conducted in portable bungalows.

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“It was a trying year, and it was hard on all of us,” kindergarten teacher Audra Kuns said. “We had a portable, we shared with their after school care.”

The Flinstone Lane campus was one of three Ocean View School District schools that were closed last October after asbestos was found during a $5.2 million modernization project. Besides the cost of removing asbestos from the schools, the district also spent $50,000 a week busing 1,600 students from Hope View, Oak View and Lake View elementary schools to other campuses.

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The school is now clean of all asbestos, lead and mold, but the district continues to pay back an $11.5 million loan. District officials hope to get a bond approved to backfill the added cost.

“As every organization needs to do once things happen, we need to readjust and reassess and make plans for the future, and that’s where we are now,” Superintendent Carol Hansen said.

The portable classrooms that students studied in last year will be kept on as multi-purpose rooms and the school’s library.

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Construction at Oak View Elementary is expected to be completed in January.