JOPLIN, MO-- It's a day long celebration for Joplin Schools as May 22nd hosts four groundbreaking ceremonies. It started at 10:30 A.M. with events at the future site of Irving Elementary School. Hundreds of people turned out for the gathering near the former home of St. John's Hospital south of 26th and Maiden Lane. Dirt was turned, a children's choir sang, and speakers pointed out just how far the project has come.
Joplin Schools Superintendent Dr. C.J. Huff said, "There are times that if I could go back and relive some of the things we've experienced, I'd do it a thousand times over. Just the outpouring of support and the generosity of people who've come here to help us out - it's been very humbling and we're very appreciative of that."
School officials say dirt work should begin within the next six weeks.
Across town in Duquesne, it was a double ground breaking for East Elementary School and East Middle School. The two will sit on the same campus that was home to EMS before the tornado, just east of 20th & Duquesne. Demolition is still in the works but will soon phase into construction.
Joplin School Board President Randy Steele said, "This is the next turning point for rebuilding Joplin. Rebuilding for our students, rebuilding for our community and you know this is exciting now. We've always seen the blueprints, seen the drawings behind the scenes. Now we turn dirt."
And the east campus project got some unexpected good news - a $100,000 check from the General Mills Foundation to help pay for construction.
The round of ground breakings wrapped up with a ceremony for Joplin High School and Franklin Tech.