Henryville schools preparing for students to get back to class


Two weeks after tornadoes devastated southern Indiana, killing 13 people, rebuilding is painfully slow.

But for school leaders in Henryville, efforts are moving quickly to get school reopened for thousands of students.

In Scottsburg, box after box of books, chairs and tables are all filling what will be Henryville Junior Senior High School.

After tornadoes destroyed their school building in Henryville, administrators have spent the past two weeks essentially creating a school from scratch.

Teachers, students and Principal Troy Albert can't get inside yet.

"Right now I'm still on the outside looking in," he said.

There's still construction going on in the high-tech office complex in nearby Scottsburg that will be students' temporary school.

Albert hopes to start classes April 2nd.

"Yeah, we have our fingers crossed," Albert said.

It is quite a job: making offices into classrooms, figuring out new schedules and transportation, and salvaging supplies from Henryville.

"The areas that were safe that they could get tables and stuff out we're trying to reuse," Albert explained, "but we are basically going to be in chairs and clipboards and have education done that way. The books are being shipped in as we speak and we're trying to get those set up in our classrooms."

But of course there was a lot that couldn't be salvaged and that's where donations come in. At the Mid-America Science Park, where students will hold classes, sits one of four warehouses stuffed with donated school supplies.

They've come in from all across the state and the country.

"You've got school chairs. I understand there's desks, school supplies, pencils, everything that the kids would need to use and also for the teachers and for the classrooms," said David Richie, of the non-profit agency, Community Life. "It's just been fabulous to see how much they care."

It's also exciting for Albert, who says he's ready to welcome students back.

He acknowledges that first day will be different, but expects it also will provide healing for Henryville, giving students a school to call home.

"I think it's gonna be enjoyable, just to see the smiling faces, the hugs," Albert said.

Henryville's elementary students will hold classes in another facility in New Albany.

They're expected to start in the middle of next week.

An exact start date is ever-changing, since it's dependent upon the temporary building getting up to school code.