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HARRIS COUNTY, GA (WTVM) -
As most schools throughout the valley prepare for their first football game of the season this Friday, players at one local school will be walking onto a new field.
"Everything was blown up here. Some stuff was off the building. The little shed that had all our stuff in it, the school wear. It was just crazy. The whole field was messed up," said Jay Ellison, a senior at Harris County High School.
Ellison remembers what the football field at Harris County High School looked like after a half-mile wide tornado tore through the community in November of 2011.
Now, he and other football players will walk onto this new field on Friday for the first game of the season.
"I didn't really think we would be able to start football this year even being back to where we were before, and now you can look at where we are," said Craig Dowling, Harris County School District Superintendent.
Dowling said because there was so much debris and glass, they had to completely tear up the field.
"The insurance was recommending that the turf be scrapped up," said Dowling. "In fact, the insurance paid for that. So, while we had the turf gone, we decided why not add the SPLOST dollars and make it right."
Officials say the new facility, complete with the same turf as the Dallas Cowboys stadium and a new track, cost about $1.2 million.
That was not all that was upgraded. Harris County High School Principal Roger Couch says after the storm, the baseball and softball fields were also covered in debris. Both fields were cleaned and new lights were added.
"The baseball field has been really good," said Couch. "Softball is great. We have lights now which are wonderful for them. They have never had that opportunity."
Ellison said this is a great start to a new season
"I'm really excited. We got a new field. We got turf. We just got a new scoreboard last year. It was just great. I am looking forward to lighting it up," said Ellison
The school plans on having a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new field before the first game of the season at 7 p.m. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m.