WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – On the morning of March 3, a tornado ripped through parts of Middle Tennessee. The EF-3 struck two Wilson County schools and caused around $85 million in damages.
“It missed one school by less than an eighth of a mile, but then hit West Wilson Middle School and Stoner Creek Elementary doing considerable structural damage on both campuses,” Director of Schools Dr. Donna Wright said.
The damages left 1,700 students and 150 teachers without classrooms. But soon after the tornado hit, COVID-19 shut down schools nationwide.
“There was really no time to transition plan and I don’t know of anyone that could have even imagined what we would’ve been facing,” Wright said.
The shutdown gave Wright more time to come up with a plan for where those students would go.
Essentially, the recovery plan will create a K-6 and 7-12 grade programs in neighboring schools.
Kindergarten to 5th grade students from Stoner Creek Elementary will join West Wilson Middle School sixth graders at Mt. Juliet Middle School. Mt. Juliet Middle sixth graders will also stay at their school for the upcoming school year.
7th and 8th grade students from Mt. Juliet Middle will go to their feeder high school at Green Hill.
7th and 8th graders from West Wilson Middle will do the same, attending Mt. Juliet High in the fall.
“It’ll be a tight fit, but it’s one that again a lot of collaboration can take place, there’s a lot of things we can do that under normal circumstances we wouldn’t have the ability to do,” Wright said.
Wright is hoping schools can return by the scheduled August 6 start date, but says COVID-19 is fast changing so the next few months could push that return past Labor Day.
Wright also said the district is still working with insurance companies to come up with an exact amount for damages from Stoner Creek and West Wilson.