Center Point Elem. reopens 2 years after tornado - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Center Point Elem. reopens 2 years after tornado

Students returned to Center Point Elementary School for the first time since it was damaged by a tornado in 2012. Source: WBRC video Students returned to Center Point Elementary School for the first time since it was damaged by a tornado in 2012. Source: WBRC video
A tornado ripped off the roof from Center Point Elementary in 2012. Source: WBRC video A tornado ripped off the roof from Center Point Elementary in 2012. Source: WBRC video
A sign welcomes the students and staff to their new school building. Source: WBRC video A sign welcomes the students and staff to their new school building. Source: WBRC video
CENTER POINT, AL (WBRC) -

Two years after a tornado ripped the roof off of Center Point Elementary School, students and teachers are finally returning to their new building.

The students have been going to Erwin elementary and middle schools since 2012.

"There were a lot of challenges. We have to share space with two other schools. Everybody was a bit crowded. We had to learn a lot new routines and procedures," CPES Principal Laura Kirkland said.

A rainy Monday didn't damper the joy everyone felt about seeing the new elementary school. The sign on the inside of the school says it all: Welcome home.

"I'm happy. Yesterday we played the 'Happy' song when people entered the door and it just feels that way all the time. We're just thrilled to be here," Kirkland said.

One teacher knew the exact time they've been gone from the school: 26 months and 21 days. She knows what day-to-day operations are supposed to be like, but for almost every one of the students and a few teachers, this is a whole new experience.

"I think it's great, seeing the smiles on the kids' faces and teachers that have been here before. It's priceless. It gives you a feeling of complete joy to see everyone excited to be back in their element. It makes me excited to teach again," music teacher Deidra Ward said.

For 90 percent of the students, Monday was the first time they've been inside the new building. They're getting their bearings right and seeing where their classes will be.

"I saw my class yesterday and I was excited and when I see it today, I don't know if I'm gonna be more surprised today," student Nadia Portis said.

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