4 years later new Caruthersville school almost ready to open

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KAIT) – More than two years after the Caruthersville High School was torn down construction on the new school is almost finished.

"For two or three years I don't think they believed this day would ever come," said Superintendent JJ Bullington.

Bullington said it took three years to secure the necessary funding to rebuild.  The school did get some money from their insurance company, but had to find the majority of the money for the new building somewhere else.

"We were able to levee a .71 cent capital projects levee that's going to finish up pay for the building," said Bullington.

The school received a 0% loan from the Department of Natural Resources.  Part of that was to incorporate some energy saving measures and one of those is classrooms where lights can automatically come on and go off.  They also received another 0% loan through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education through the Rebuild Missouri Schools Program and funding through FEMA.

"I just can't wait until the day that I get to see those kids walk into this building and I know that will probably be the proudest day of their life and mine too," said Bullington.

The students are the biggest group affected by the tornado, having struggled the past few years attending classes in trailers.

"This senior class will get to spend about four months in the new building otherwise they've been in the trailers their entire high school career," said Bullington

Bullington said graduates from the old high school  didn't want to see the old building torn down.

"These future generations of students, they didn't have ties to the old building and they need a place they can call home," said Bullington.

Knowing the importance of the old building to the community, they have worked hard to bridge the old building into the new.

"The old one lasted from 1924 to 2006 almost 100 years so they'll be the first to incorporate hopefully another 100 years or longer in the new building," said Assistant Superintendent Ron Stutzman.

The move in date for teachers & students is set for the third week in January.  The gym won't be ready to move into until around March.  The total cost for the new high school building and two other buildings damaged in the tornado is just over $14 million dollars.

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