The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 21, 2012

Groundbreakings at three schools to mark tornado anniversary

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin School District will mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 tornado with groundbreakings Tuesday at sites for three schools to replace those destroyed in the storm.

“It’s just a conclusion of another chapter and the beginning of a new chapter in this recovery effort,” said Superintendent C.J. Huff. “It will provide the opportunity for all of us to reflect on the last year and what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

The first ceremony will be at 10:30 a.m. at 2727 McClelland Blvd., which is the site for a new Irving Elementary School.

The land was donated to the school district by Sisters of Mercy Health System, and Huff said the ceremony will include the deed to the property being handed over to the district. The Joplin School Board decided last fall to move the school from its former landlocked location so it could be expanded.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for East Middle School and the new elementary school that will share the same site will begin at noon at 4594 E. 20th St. A light lunch will follow. The new elementary school is to house students from Duenweg and Duquesne elementary schools. East Middle School was newly built in 2010 before it was destroyed in the May 22 tornado.

The high school groundbreaking will be incorporated into the city’s Walk of Unity. It will be held at 3:50 p.m. at 2401 S. Indiana Ave. as walkers arrive. Huff said the district and the city believe that the high school is an important part of the walk. The Hope High School sign has become an iconic image for the city.

“When people go on the Unity Walk, everywhere they go they’re going to see tremendous progress on all fronts,” Huff said. “I think it’s going to be an uplifting day of remembrance and a day for us to start moving forward again.”

Voters in April passed a $62 million bond issue for school construction projects. The estimated rebuilding cost for all the schools and other associated projects is $185 million. At the time of the election, total estimated insurance, government funding and donations stood at $123 million, leaving the $62 million gap.

Bond issue projects

• Combined Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center at an expanded JHS site.

• East Middle School and an elementary school housing Duenweg and Duquesne pupils at the East campus.

• Irving Elementary, which will house pupils from the destroyed Irving and Emerson elementaries at a site donated by Sisters of Mercy Health System.

• Community storm shelters at all schools except North and South middle schools.

• Repairs and upgrades at other elementary schools.

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