Henryville students eager to get back to class

The school board chose two locations for temporary classrooms while the damaged schools are being repaired.

One week after an EF-4 tornado ripped through Henryville, heavy machinery rolls into the parking lot at Henryville High School. The cleanup is well underway.

"I still think it's hopeful," said Henryville Junior-Senior High School Principal Troy Albert. "When you see the cleanup, it's a hope that we're going to be in here next fall."

But until then, students need a place to study.

"I go out here and you just look and everything's destroyed," said Katelin Burton, a 4th grader at Henryville Elementary School. "I usually never wanna go to school, but I want to go to school now."

In order to get children back in the classroom, the West Clark Community school board held an emergency meeting last night. "We come with heavy hearts tonight," a board member said at the beginning of the meeting. The board chose two locations for temporary classrooms: a facility in New Albany for elementary students and one in Scottsburg for junior and senior high school students.

Mid America Science Park in Scottsburg - ten miles away - that will serve as the junior-senior high school. Since it's brand new, it will take a couple of weeks to convert it into classrooms. Elementary students will use a facility in New Albany, about 15 miles from Henryville.

The first order of business once students arrive: hold a tornado drill.

"You've just got to make sure your exits are well marked and where's the safest place to be," said principal Albert.

Sources tell Eyewitness News, it may not open to students until early April.

The tornado evacuation plan at Henryville Junior-Senior High School was perfectly executed and it likely saved lives.

Even with all of the damage, not a single person at this school complex was injured. "Our school may be damaged - the building - but the people in it aren't and that's where we're lucky," explained Albert.

So what happened in the past remains there. "It's just a miracle that I'm standing here and every day's a blessing and that's how I look at it," he said.

In Henryville, they're looking forward to getting back to school, which is a symbol of getting back to normal.  

So far, viewers have donated more than a half-million dollars to the survivors. You can make a donation at any central Indiana Kroger or Forum Credit Union location. You can also donate $10 by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999.