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After Tornado, Joplin Students Will Attend School at “The Mall”

Volunteers clear debris from a tornado-damaged apartment complex July 30, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

This coming Wednesday, students in Joplin Missouri will be headed back to school– at a mall. It’s been 87 days since the deadliest tornado in the US in  more than 60 years ripped through the city, killing 160, destroying about 30% of homes and businesses, and devouring 10 schools, including the only public high school, Joplin High.

While it seems like a high schooler’s dream to go to school at the mall– it isn’texactly what it sounds like. This is not just a makeshift school that’s been thrown together in the wake of disaster. NBC News reports:

Joplin officials say they hope the learning center, created for 11th- and 12th-graders inside a vacant 90,000-square-foot

department store using donations and federal relief funds, will establish Joplin as a hub of innovation, not as a district crushed by disaster.

There are no lockers or books at the high school, which

students have dubbed “The Mall” though it is in a separate building from the stores.

“The design is what we call a flexible floor plan, with areas that are wide open for large group instruction and smaller settings that can accommodate a classroom and study areas,” Dunn said. “It’s a high-tech environment with large screens and computers everywhere. And Joplin’s mascot, the eagle, will be prominent.”…

Chloe Hadley, 17, said she is ready to start her senior year, despite the heartache and loss from that terrible night in May,”It will be good to go back, because it will keep us busy and keep our thoughts off of what really happened here,” said Hadley. “I’m looking forward to it, even if it is in the mall.”




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