New Joplin High School on schedule to open

Monday, July 14, 2014 | 1:53 p.m. CDT

JOPLIN — A new high school that will replace the one destroyed by the deadly tornado in Joplin three years ago is expected to open its doors to students this fall, the district's superintendent said.

Joplin school superintendent C.J. Huff told The Joplin Globe that construction to replace the high school destroyed by a fatal tornado is on the fast track to meet the deadline of Aug. 25, which is when school starts. The May 2011 twister killed 161 people and devastated several Joplin schools, other parts of the city and the neighboring town of Duquesne.

"I'm over there almost every day, and the transformation is remarkable," Huff said. "The construction workers are hitting it hard. Our back has been to the wall for over three years now in terms of construction deadlines."

Mike Johnson, the district's construction director, said the four, three-story wings that hold most of the classrooms are finished. Furniture has been delivered and crews are working hard to finish hallways that connect the four wings. He added that most of the Franklin Technology Center is finished, and some of the programs' large equipment will be moved in next week.

The high school gymnasiums are expected to be ready by August, Johnson said. He added the auditorium will not be completed when school begins, but that had been expected all along.

He said crews have also been pushing to finish the band, orchestra and choir classrooms in the performing arts area too.

"We're not making any promises, but we're working like crazy to make it happen," he said.

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