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A new Blountstown Elementary is underway after Hurricane Michael wrecked the old one four years ago

A hopscotch game is drawn in chalk. Children play while adults talk.
Regan McCarthy
WFSU Public Media
After Hurricane Michael some schools, like this one, opened as shelters to give families a temporary place to stay, while others were so damaged they could never open again.

Today marks the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael crashing into the Florida Panhandle as a Category 5 storm. While progress has been made toward putting the ravaged communities back together, there’s still a long way to go. Blountstown elementary students and staff took another step toward recovery last week as they helped break ground on their new school.

The Calhoun County Elementary School suffered such significant damage from Hurricane Michael, officials declared the building a total loss. Since then, students have been scattered among campuses and learning in portable buildings with support staff, like cafeteria workers, driving in between.

Former Calhoun County Superintendent Ralph Yoder spoke with WFSU shortly after the storm.

"It’s taken some creative thinking to make this work, but it’s been a team effort and I’m very thankful for that and the patients of our staff and our community," Yoder said in October of 2018.

School officials say they’re ready to get their elementary students back under one roof and back to a sense of normally, but there will still be a bit of a wait before that can happen. Construction on the new building isn’t expected to be complete until the fall of 2024.

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Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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