HACKLEBURG, Ala. (WCBI) — It’s back-to-school week for schools in West Alabama. And that means lots of excitement. But nowhere is it building more than in a town that’s been without for more than three years.
For the last three years, Laine Black has spent her high school career in a trailer, turned school, after an EF-5 tornado leveled the town of Hackleburg in April 2011.
“I’ve gotten used to it… first it was very different but when we go to the other schools, it makes you realize the little things you don’t have, especially lockers. You just forget what being home really feels like,” Black said.
But her senior year will be all the more special. Teachers have had to adapt to cramped quarters and lack of facilities during the long recovery.
“Typically you have to stay at your desk. You can walk back and forth a little bit but you don’t have any mobility you can’t get up and down he aisles where the kids are at,” says science teacher Brandon McDuffa.
But just over the hill from the temporary campus stands a crown jewel, just months from opening for the 300 students in grades 7-12. It’s a ray of hope for everyone.
“Nothing was as quick as we wanted it to be but it’s worked out very well and we can start seeing the end results to and so we are thankful for everybody that helped us but we’re ready to move in our new building,” says John Hardin, the school’s principal.
Even though the new Hackleburg High School is months away from being finished, the community is looking forward to their first home football game.
That August 29 game is the kickoff to what will be a special year.
“When the lights turn on and we’re back at home and we’re playing ball in our own stadium, it’s going to be…I think it’s going to be a special night for everybody. I think there is going to be a lot of people with a lot of happy, crying tears of joy, the whole nine yards and I think it will be a packed house,” says McDuffa.
For the next few months, students will continue to use the halls as their lockers, but come Christmas time, their school will be ready with a nice red bow.
Neighboring Phil Campbell High School will open its new doors after Labor Day after spending three years in a mobile school.