From destruction to celebration, the Canadian Valley Technology Center marks an important milestone following the May 2013 tornadoes. A twister nearly wiped the school off its concrete slab.
On Thursday, the Canadian Valley Technology family broke ground on a new $44 million building.
Part of the steel and concrete frame left behind from the tornado will be used as the foundation for the new center.
“I think they have a great plan coming out and it's going to be really cool,” said student Hunter Caudillo.
On May 31, 2013, a tornado damaged or destroyed all nine buildings of the Canadian Valley campus in El Reno.
“This was like our home, you know. We really spend more time here at our job than we do at our house, so as a whole, Canadian Valley Tech family, we were just devastated,” explained teacher Colleen Dill.
Classes were relocated off-site, scattered between five different locations.
“The students have really helped us with our emotions to just keep on going, and that's what we've been doing this past year and a half and we will do it another year and a half until we finally get back in,” Dill added.
Fifteen people were on campus when the tornado hit and they all survived inside an underground shelter. The new state of the art facility will have five FEMA approved safe rooms across the campus.
“I'm just thankful that, through such a tragic thing, good has come out and it's really brought everyone closer together and helps us to be more appreciative of what we have,” said Kaylee Kramer, an early care and education student.
A $12-million bond issue is help paying for what was not covered by insurance.
“We are ready to get back to the way it used to be,” Dill exclaimed.
The school expects the new center to open in May 2016, in time for the start of classes in August 2016