(MOORE, Okla.) — Nearly three months after a massive tornado wound through Moore, Okla., destroying two elementary schools on the last day of school, parents and students headed back to class Friday for the first day of the new school year.
Two elementary schools, Briarwood and Plaza Towers Elementary, were destroyed in the EF-5 tornado that hit the Oklahoma City suburb. Twenty-four people were killed in the storm, including seven students from Plaza Towers Elementary.
On Friday morning, Plaza Towers Elementary students started a new school year with therapy dogs and a large banner that read “Plaza Towers Elementary School. Welcome.”
The approximate 300 students are using a facility formerly used by the Central Junior High School, now nicknamed “Plaza 800,” a combination of the elementary school’s name and the building’s former nickname.
Tammy Baker, the principal of Central Junior High School, said the building was refurbished to make it more suitable for elementary-school-age students.
In front of the newly refurbished school building, parents could be seen taking pictures of their kids as they headed off to embark on a brand new school year.
Approximately five miles away, the 567 students of Briarwood Elementary are settling into the Emmaus Baptist Church, where they would remain until next year.
Two new playgrounds will be built, one at the church and another at the rebuilt school by the nonprofit company Kaboom! with money donated from Nike.
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