Two years after Tushka tornado, school construction continues

By: Allison Harris Email
By: Allison Harris Email

TUSHKA, OKLAHOMA -- Two years after the Tushka EF-3 tornado, the community is still rebuilding.

Tushka's K through 12 school was destroyed in the storm. High School Principal Matt Simpson watched his years of work at the school crumble along with the building.

"You know, you've spent the last decade or so of your life, and every day, and you pull up and there's nothing left. It's kind of a bad feeling," Simpson said.

For the past two years, class has convened in portable buildings.

Today, on the second anniversary of this devastation, Simpson and many others are smiling at the progress of Tushka's new school.

"Everyone takes a lot of pride in our school and always has and so this isn't our day; this is for everybody here," Simpson said.

Melody Bensley, came to the open house with her grandchildren, who lost both their home and school in the tornado.

"It's really good to be able to come over here and see the new building and see where they're going to go to school and have a home again," Bensley said.

7th grader Caitlyn Cooper also gave a rave review.

"I like it!" Cooper said.

"We basically have taken a bad situation and we're going to use it as a positive. This has given us an opportunity to build buildings like we want them and like we need them," Simpson said.

One of their "needs" in building the school was safe rooms, in the event of another severe storm. This new school has three bunkers.

Now students know they're better protected and can focus on the curriculum.

"They'll be glad to be in some classrooms that are a little more conducive to learning," Simpson said.

School officials expect the new facility to open in December.

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