Beech Grove High School will start classes on time after $9 million tornado damage

(Twitter: Rich Van Wyk)

BEECH GROVE, Ind. (WTHR) — Less than six weeks after a tornado damaged Beech Grove High School, teachers and contractors are rushing to have classrooms ready for the first day of school.

Workers were hustling as we head into the last weekend before 900 students return for the first day of school on Wednesday, July 31.

On June 15, an EF-1 tornado ripped through Beech Grove, causing $9 million in damage to the high school, creating gaping holes in the roof, flooding classrooms with rain water and causing structural damage.

Workers have replaced ceilings, lights and floors in 20 classrooms, while another six were badly damaged and will take months to repair. Exterior and interior walls will have to eventually be torn down and rebuilt, but superintendent Dr. Paul Kaiser is proud of the progress.

"I see a lot of hustle and bustle," Kaiser said. "Students may have to park a little further out because they will be going in different doors, but from an academic standpoint, they won't know the difference, and we will hit the ground running."

Some teachers will be sharing classrooms. For instance, when teachers and students leave their classrooms for lunch or other special activities, another teacher will push a loaded cart in with his or her necessary supplies.

"I've learned Beech Grove is a community," teacher Gabi Starkey said. "We are doing this together, getting over it together and coming out stronger in the end."