Elementary school damaged by Nov. 2013 tornado to reopen Wed. in Tippecanoe Co.

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. - Students at one Tippecanoe County school are preparing to returning to class Wednesday nearly nine months after a powerful tornado damaged the building.

After winds of up to 165 miles per hour blew through Mintonye Elementary School on Nov. 18, 2013,  450 students had to finish out the school year in a building provided by First Assembly Community Ministries.

Tippecanoe School Corporation Spokeswoman Sue Scott said the elementary school has been reinforced for safety.

"We made several improvements because the (tornado) weakened the whole north wall of the building. (Construction crews) added steel beams all along the north side.  It is covered with dry wall that will make whole side of the building much safer," Sue Scott said.

Teacher Sheryl Davis said moving back into the school has been a challenge.

"I unpacked the first 60 boxes and then 20 more arrived.  I then had to make room for all that stuff as well," Davis said.

Teacher Christina Bymaster said she's looking anticipating the new school year.

"I can't wait to welcome them here.  We're home and the kids are excited.  We are excited.  It's great to start a new year back where we should be," Bymaster said.

The cost to repair the school totaled more than $3 million. Teachers and administrators said it was money well spent.

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