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A year since devastating explosion, a new start for Minnehaha Academy

The school held a ceremonial pillar raising on Thursday morning.

It's a year to the day that the Minnehaha Academy community was rocked by a devastating gas explosion that killed two beloved staff members.

A huge section of the school in south Minneapolis was destroyed in the blast, which killed receptionist Ruth Berg and custodian John Carlson, and injured several more.

The explosion happened when contractors tried to move gas meters outside, causing natural gas to leak into the building.

On Thursday morning, around 200 people attended a ceremony marking the first steps towards a new life for the school, which saw a construction crew raising the first pillar of the new buildings that will replace the destroyed section.

The 105-year-old school will erect three new buildings on its Upper School campus, which the academy says will meet the needs of future students and teachers for the next 100 years.

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It will feature multi-use facilities and "spacious learning spaces with flexible furniture and layouts," as well as "restorative areas to nourish the mind and spirit."

A space will be left where the explosion happened, with the school turning it into a memorial garden for the 47-year-old Berg and 82-year-old Carlson.

The school is hoping all the construction will be done in time for the 2019 academic year.

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