Amory schools awarded FEMA grant to help with unexpected costs

AMORY, Miss. (WCBI) – It had been eight months since an EF3 tornado hit Amory, causing extensive damage to athletic facilities at the high school and other buildings.

The district moved quickly to clean up the devastation and bring in temporary classrooms, but it all came with a high price.

The federal government has pledged to reimburse the district for a big chunk, of the unexpected expense.

Amory School District Superintendent Brian Jones said he had learned a lot about dealing with various government agencies since the March 24 tornado.

“They don’t teach you this in superintendent school, there is no manual to go on, you’re learning on the fly,” said Jones.

Jones and his staff have been working with FEMA in the aftermath of the tornado. The district had to bring in modular units to replace the field house, classrooms, and offices. A temporary structure now houses the weight room and laundry facilities.

Insurance has been a big help, but the district had unexpected expenses. Now, FEMA has awarded Amory schools $1.5 million for reimbursement.

“Without the federal government’s help and without our insurance, this is no way possible. It’s unforeseen. We don’t have this kind of money in the bank account,” said Jones.

Plans called for the field and stadium to be rebuilt, followed by the field house. It means Amory will likely be playing football on its home turf next season. Head Football Coach Brooks Dampeer said the team, school, and community are resilient.

“I tell our kids all the time. You control what you can control. Put one foot in front of the next, each and every day. And somehow this season if you had told us we’d go nine and two through all this, we would say that’s a good year,” said Dampeer.

It took only a few seconds for the tornado to level the athletic facilities at Amory High School. It will take a while to rebuild.

Right now, plans call for everything to be in place for the 2025 season.

The funds will also help cover new lighting at the soccer fields, rebuild the concession stand, and make sure everything is up to code.

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