NEWNAN, Ga. — After a devastating EF-4 tornado hit Newnan High School earlier this year, much of the current school will have to be demolished.
The Coweta County School Board made that decision at their meeting Tuesday night.
Since the March storm, 10th-12th graders have been back on campus, but two-thirds of buildings are too damaged, including the iconic main building that has stood since 1951.
“It was always that building that represented Newnan High School and now that that’s gone, will be a little different,” Newnan High School senior Pichon Wimbley said.
Robin Goad, who is a teacher and parent to two graduates and one current senior, told Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach that she has fond memories at the school, but understands the board’s decision to tear it down.
“No one wants to see the buildings go. But it has to go,” Goad said.
The school’s principal called the last six months an emotional rollercoaster.
“It has been bittersweet…want school to be functional and whole, just take some time to get there.”
The old walls of the main building, auditorium and others are not reinforced and could not be brought up to current codes.
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“When you have to replace the roof and the walls get to situation where there’s not much left,” Coweta County School Superintendent Evan Horton said.
Horton said the next phase starts now. The design team is tasked with keeping the integrity and look of the old school while salvaging and including as much as possible.
His message remains the same as the morning after the storm: We’ll be back.
“Our goal as a school system is for Newnan High School to be back, be back in its rightful place in this community and buildings don’t make schools, people make schools,” Horton said.
Finalizing the plans and demolition may not come till the end of the school year in May and into next summer.
Then construction would likely take another two years to complete.
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