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Student transfers from Plaza Towers to Southgate, second school hit by tornado

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MOORE, Okla. - Schools across Moore were closed Thursday after several of its buildings were damaged in the tornado Wednesday night.

Officials say Southgate Elementary School received substantial damage by the tornado.

“It appears that Southgate-Rippetoe is the building that was hit the hardest,” Superintendent Robert Romines said.

The roof was torn off and debris covers the lawn.

Officials say there is also heavy electrical damage.

Many people in the community volunteered Thursday to clean up the school.

Little Malachi Finley came to see the school with his mom.

“I'm sure whenever he hears tornado it's just automatic destruction and despair,” Latresha Finley said.

Malachi has seen mother nature’s destruction before.

He was in pre-k when the May 2013 tornado hit Plaza Towers.

“How do you sit down and tell your son that each school he's gone to has been hit by a tornado?” Finley asked.

Superintendent Romines toured Southgate with Governor Mary Fallin and other local leaders Thursday.

“Unfortunately we've been through this before, we know what we're doing, and we're about putting our community back together,” Moore Public Schools Superintendent Robert Romines said.

He said safety is the top priority.

Engineers will check structure damage all across the district before kids are allowed to go back to school.

The Superintendent says Southgate is a total loss, at least on the west wing.

School leaders know this is a sensitive time for students.

They’ll have counselors on hand next week, providing some comfort for families like Malachi’s.

“We’re gonna get back to where we need to be. We've proven that before, and it's going to be okay,” Romines said.

As the City of Moore and the school district begin to clean up another elementary school devastated by a tornado, Superintendent Romines has shifted classroom services to a local church.

The students will spend at least the rest of the school year at Emmaus Baptist Church in Moore.

The district has not yet decided when school will resume for the Southgate students at their temporary location.

 

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