Henryville students may return to their school a month earlier than originally anticipated, just in time for the beginning of the next school year.
John Reed, assistant superintendent for West Clark Community Schools, said the school is expected to open Aug. 1. He said Belfor, the company rebuilding the school, is making a lot of progress on the project.
“It’s huge because we approved our calendar and our teachers come back on Aug. 6, then kids are back Aug. 7,” Reed said. “If it weren’t ready until Sept. 1, then we’re talking about sending those kids to Scottsburg and Graceland until then.”
The school was heavily damaged by March 2 tornadoes — one an E4-4 packing winds of about 170 mph. Elementary-school students were sent to Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany; Middle- and high-school students are attending school in temporary classrooms at Mid-America Science Park in Scottsburg.
Kevin Barnes, a project manager with Belfor, said several parts of the school were salvageable, but others needed a complete rebuild.
He said though trucks are leaving the campus, that just means they’re getting ready to install large pieces of structural steel, not that they’re leaving town.
“We’ve been very happy with the progress so far,” Barnes said. “We see no problem meeting the deadline and we’ve been very fortunate to have some of the partnerships we’ve got with some of the local contractors in Southern Indiana and Kentucky.”
Workers are replacing roofing and working on other structural components in parts of the building that are in better shape, he said, but the harder hit areas are getting prepared for the installation of new structural steel. He said the number of workers on site fluctuates depending on what kind of work they’re doing, but on average, about 150 people are working to rebuild the school.
He also said Belfor has also had contractors at the school for night shifts to do work.