MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
In this town of a little more than 20,000 there's been a hunger for growth and healing. Enterprise opened its new high school this week, a little more than 3 years after a tornado blew through and killed 8 Enterprise High School students.
Rick Cutts owns one of the local diners in town.
"We'll never forget those who died. This new school helps us move forward," said Cutts.
Cutts' restaurant only sustained roof damage but like so many other people he was hurt on a deeper level; the tornado killed 9 people in all, 8 of them high school students at what was the old Enterprise High School.
During the last 3 years students had to share classrooms and a campus with college students at Enterprise-Ozark Community College in Enterprise.
At the new school which opened this week principal Rick Rainer believes the new school is probably the tonic needed to begin a new chapter.
"It's been 41 long months. We will always memorialize our students and move forward," said Rainer.
There's little doubt the new Enterprise High School will help the town move forward yet some say they don't necessarily want to forget that terrible day.
After all 8 blue and white ribbons, the school colors, still hang at the city's water fountain remembering the 8 students who died in the storm.
The new school is huge; 525,000 square feet. It is reportedly the largest public high school in the southeast and it costs $86 million to build. It's 3 stories high and it has what school leaders call 'safe rooms,' places where students can go and be better protected should another tornado come through.
New year, new school, a new beginning started Monday.