Saturday, May 28, 2011

Joplin schools work toward opening on time

Efforts made by the Joplin R-8 School District to start the school year on time at East Middle School and all other schools despite Sunday's tornado were discussed by school officials during a news conference at North Friday:

The Joplin school district took a critical step Thursday by seeking a permit to demolish and remove sections of the damaged East Middle School.

Superintendent C.J. Huff said East, one of three middle schools, is the largest school building that can be repaired. It can serve up to 750 students.

He said nearly all classrooms at East were deemed structurally sound by an engineer, and the others, along with common spaces such as the gym and cafeteria, will be rebuilt.

The district took a symbolic step this week by hanging a large flag -- one of 20 donated by Ozark Flag Company in Springfield -- at Joplin High. Others will be flown at other schools.

"That was a proud moment for us," Huff said. "We need to fly that flag high in the part of town hit hardest."

After the tornado struck Sunday, just after the high school graduation, the district started to track down students and staff.

During a Thursday news conference at North Middle School, Huff said the district finally knew the status of all 1,100 employees and 90 percent of the nearly 7,800 students.

"This is our top priority," he said. "We're not going to give up until our family is back together."

(Springfield News-Leader photo: Superintendent C. J. Huff prepares to raise an American flag at Joplin High School, which was destroyed by the tornado.)

1 comment:

Cayley said...

What happened to East Middle and Joplin High School is so awful! I am a freshman a Joplin High... or "was" might be a better word. I hope Joplin High and East will be reopened in time for school next year, and I sincerely hope that everyone is okay and still has a good summer despite the damage across the city.