Moore Six Months Later: Families Remember, District Rebuilds Schools
Wednesday marks the six month anniversary of the Moore tornado that killed 23 people and injured 377. In the past six months, many families have moved into new homes. The school district is working to rebuild three schools that experienced storm damage.The tornado tore through Plaza Towers Elementary School, killing seven students. Six months later, construction crews are working to rebuild the school. There is a memorial the site remembering the students killed.Plaza Towers Elementary and Briarwood Elementary experienced considerable damage in the storm. The tornado also damaged Highland East Junior High's gym. Construction crews are working to have the buildings ready by August 2014. These three building will have storm shelters."We have some some walls going up, which I have to tell you has really been a sign of hope for the community," said Moore Public Schools spokesperson Jimi Fleming. He said FEMA is paying 87 percent of the cost for the shelters. The district is responsible for the rest of the bill. He said the district does not yet have all the money it needs and donations are still welcome.Also, Fleming said a previous bond issue has already promised storm shelters in some new school buildings.However, Channel 8 reconnected with a family our crews met six months ago. Their children are now at a new school-- which does not not have a storm shelter."It's insane. How many times is this going to happen? I just don't see how that's going to be beneficial to our children," said homeowner Julie Alarcon. She has an eight-year-old and a seven-year-old enrolled in Moore Public Schools.The state of Oklahoma does not require storm shelters in school buildings.The Alarcons lived near Plaza Towers Elementary but their children were enrolled in private school. The storm ravaged their home. In May, they vowed to rebuild in the same neighborhood. However, the cost of rebuilding proved to be very expensive. Also, only one of their close neighbors chose to stay. Everyone else moved."There was a lot of character in that neighborhood. I'm sure it's going to have character, but it's not going to be the same," Alarcon said.Her family bought a house across town and was able to salvage some important items from the destruction. They brought some furniture, a television, and family photos.The Alarcon household is already decorated for Christmas, because the family is looking forward to a happy holiday season after a difficult year. Alarcon said she found a bag of the family's ornaments after they moved. She said a stranger must have packed them for her.The Alarcons vow to go volunteer at any future tornado disasters because of the help they received following the storm.