The smell of freshly cut lumber rides a south breeze to the front of the steel and concrete skeleton rising out of red clay. Construction workers and machines move about.
The new incarnation of Plaza Towers Elementary School, where seven children died in the May 20, 2013, tornado, is set to open this fall. And in front on this day stand Mikki Davis and family members, there for a rally calling for the state to help pay for safe rooms in schools. Davis holds a picture of her 8-year-old son Kyle, one of the seven children who died.
“I didn’t want him taken (from life),” Davis said. “I expected to come here (on May 20) and find him looking for mama to pick him up.”
Returning to the site brings back memories and emotions. But knowing that the new school will have a safe room gives Davis some consolation.
“If my son’s life was taken so that others in the future could be saved in the future, then that makes me proud to be his mom,” Davis said.
The inclusion of safe rooms in the three schools damaged or destroyed in last year’s tornadoes is part of the FEMA disaster aid enabling the district to rebuild. The assistance covers three-fourths of the cost of what is not paid for by insurance and donations.