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Enterprise school to be rebuilt at new site

ENTERPRISE (AP) — The city school board voted unanimously to reconstruct Enterprise High School at a new location rather than rebuild on the land where eight students were killed by a tornado.

Members decided during a meeting Tuesday night to locate the high school at a new site. Hillcrest Elementary School — which was adjacent to the old high school and was badly damaged — will be rebuilt at its old location and expanded.

School Superintendent Jim Reese said there was strong sentiment to rebuild Enterprise High at its old location, but a change was needed to give the school room for growth.

"Solomon said there is a time to tear down and a time to rebuild," Reese said. "I think it's time to tear down and rebuild. We've had our memories at Enterprise High School. Now it's time for our children and grandchildren to make their own memories."

A twister slammed into the high school on March 1, crumbling a hall and killing eight students as they huddled inside. The Legislature within weeks approved $32 million to rebuild the high school and Hillcrest.

A memorial has been proposed to mark the spot where the students died, and the new school will incorporate some decorations salvaged from the old building, which will be demolished.

Schools spokesman Bob Phares said the new school will be located within a mile of the old site.

Under the plan adopted by the board, the high school will be constructed on 140 acres near the Alabama Career Center, a jobs program affiliated with The University of Alabama, while the old high school acreage will be added to the Hillcrest campus.

The board will purchase the 140 acres, located on the west side of Enterprise, from Andalusia resident John G. Rawls for $2 million. Rawls has agreed to donate $600,000 of the sale price back to the school system.

Enterprise High School will continue to operate at Enterprise-Ozark Community College through the next school year and possibly longer depending on how long it takes to build the new school.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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