The city of West marked a big milestone on its way to recovery with the groundbreaking of the new high school and middle school Thursday.
Back in 2013, the high school had to be destroyed after being damaged by the fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people. The new school will be built exactly where the old school used to be.
"It means the start of something new,” West High School junior Bria Dokupil said. “We get to come to school in an actual building, and it just means the city is starting to rebuild and grow."
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Since the explosion, students have had to attend school in another district and temporary portable buildings. Despite these challenges, students have not given up.
“I am going to miss the portables to be honest,” said West High senior Holly Soukup. “They have just been a great part of our lives."
Unfortunately for many students at Thursday’s groundbreaking, they will never be able to attend class in the new school. Those students are still happy for the younger students who will.
"It means a lot because I have family members who are coming up and grades below me, and for them to experience a high school, and not portable buildings, is just an amazing thing," said Soukup.
All the West High School students we spoke with plan to be back to see the new school dedicated.
"Oh yes, I will be here," said Soukup.
"I hope they get it done before we graduate, and if not, I definitely will come back for it," said Dokupil.
The new school is being paid for by insurance and FEMA money. It will cost close to $45 million dollars to build. They hope to be in the new school by 2016.