By Debby Woodin
JOPLIN, Mo. —
A grant of nearly $11 million to help the Joplin School District rebuild some of the schools that were destroyed and damaged by the 2011 tornado was announced late Thursday afternoon by Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide $10,966,065 toward the construction of a new Irving Elementary School, and the East Middle School and elementary school campus in Duquesne.
“I’ve seen firsthand the recovery efforts under way by the resilient folks in Joplin, and I know these resources will be put to great use as they continue to rebuild,” McCaskill said in a statement. “I plan to keep fighting to ensure that Joplin has the support and the tools necessary to rebuild its homes, schools and businesses.”
McCaskill met in June with members of the Joplin Area Coalition, composed of city, school and Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce officials and their lobbyists, to discuss the status of recovery efforts.
The Globe’s efforts to obtain comment from school district officials were unsuccessful Thursday night.
Work on both school locations has begun.
Ground work is being done at the Irving site on McClelland Boulevard, which was donated by Sisters of Mercy Health System and was part of the St. John’s Regional Medical Center campus. Dirt removed from the new Mercy Hospital construction site at 50th and Main streets is being trucked there to fill and level the site.
The school will house up to 600 students from the areas that were served by Irving and Emerson elementary schools, which were destroyed in the tornado.
A new elementary school for students living in the areas served previously by Duquesne and Duenweg schools will adjoin the reconstructed East Middle School.
The steel structure at that school is about to go up..
East will accommodate up to 700 middle school students, and the elementary school will accommodate up to 450 children.
PLANS ESTIMATE the school district’s total reconstruction costs at $185 million. District voters in April approved a $62 million bond issue to help finance the effort.