Caruthersville Still Waiting for New High School

CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KAIT) -- It's been almost two years since the April 2nd tornado hit Caruthersville and there is still no new school for the high school students.  This past spring a bond issue failed to pass in the town and now the community is desperate for something, hoping a letter writing campaign will be what they need.

The old Caruthersville High School still stands waiting to be torn down and replaced, as for now, that is on hold. A few months ago school leaders were invited to meet with the Missouri Lottery Commission about the school's future.

"The opportunity to talk to the lottery commission and we talked to them about accessing some excess revenues that were gained in last year's lottery," said Caruthersville Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Theil.

Theil says those funds have to be granted by the state appropriations committee.

"We think that Senator Meyer is in a position where he can make a suggestion to the appropriations committee for a no interest loan of $5 million dollars for a 20 year period of time," said Theil.

That's why they're asking citizens to send a letter to Senator Meyer letting him know the number of people who support this and it's an idea that's gaining momentum.

"This is a really good opportunity for everyone to have their voice heard and let Senator Meyer know we are behind this 100%," said parent Brian Abbott.

"It's been very refreshing to me that so many people in this community have agreed and have committed themselves to writing a letter of support to the Senator for this request for $5 million dollars," said Theil.

For people who live here, the kids are what are most important. And with no real school, some feel the students aren't getting the education they deserve, especially when they have to walk past the old building every day.

"I know it's not safe for our students and the kids are not getting the quality education they deserve in the environment they're in," said teacher Emily Trowbridge.

There's no construction happening right now, but preliminary work has already begun but without money there's not really much they can do and the school is waiting on guaranteed funding.

"Right now its lack of commitment of funds we are poised and ready to start the demolition we have bids out and we accepted a demolition company for the demolition of the building," said Theil.

But for now-- it's just wait and see.  Construction is scheduled to run from June 2008 to 2009 with move in slated in August of 2009. Demolition of the old school was supposed to start this month, but that date has been pushed back.