SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-- Joplin schools are beginning the demolition process and planning for new schools.
Although they'll have insurance money to rebuild, building schools that will best serve future generations will take a little more.
A unique fundraiser is commemorating the past to raise funds for the future. Bricks that spent years in the walls of Joplin high school and came crashing down on May 22nd are now part of a fundraiser to help rebuild Joplin schools.
"Well, my wife, right after the storm, was volunteering at the school, working through the superintendent's office, and she said almost every day that went by, they got a call from somebody out there wanting a souvenir brick from the high school," says Gary Burton.
Burton got the idea of putting an image on the bricks, and Paul Whitehill of Images on Tile made it happen. Special ink is transferred to the side of the brick at 400 degrees, the famous image of Hope High School. "It's kind of an inspiration, and of all the photos we saw, we kind of thought that was one of the better shots that kind of indicate what's going on in Joplin," says Burton.
Demolition on two of the six destroyed school buildings is underway, and planning for the new buildings is also beginning. "We've been heavily engaged in strategic planning and facilities planning prior to May 22nd, and a lot of the things we're talking about now are basically implementation of a plan that was pretty much in place prior to the storm," says Joplin Schools Superintendent C.J. Huff.
The new schools will be designed for the 21st century, and in some cases, like the High School, the schools will need to be larger. "If we were to build it back as it was, we'd still have a school that was too small for the 2,200 students that attend," says Huff.
The district must also decide on the best locations for the future, not knowing how the rebuilt community of Joplin will look. "There's a lot of unknowns right now," Huff says.
One thing they do know- it will cost money, and members of the community are pitching in for the good of future generations, brick by brick. The Joplin High School Brick Project has raised about $23,000 since December 1st. The bricks can now be personalized with a name and year. For order information, visit RebuildJoplin.org