MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The facilities manager for the Mobile County Public School System said it is going to take help from the state to restore Murphy High School to the way it was before it was heavily damaged by the Christmas Day tornado.
And, Tommy Sheffield said Monday will be an important day in helping to shape Murphy's future.
WHAT DIRECTION WILL WE GO TO "PULL THE TRAIN?"
Sheffield said design work has to be approved by the state.
The first step to getting that done begins Monday, when Sheffield said, the Alabama Building Commission Director and the State Department of Education Architect are scheduled to tour Murphy.
Sheffield said, "Monday is going to be a day of, okay, now let's see what direction we're going to pull the train."
HOW MUCH MONEY IS NEEDED?
The Mobile County School Board has already approved $8 Million for work, and there will also be money coming from insurance.
But Sheffield said to restore Murphy, not just repair it, it will cost, "An estimate of $25 to $30 Million in construction dollars, over and beyond everything we're doing right now."
He said that includes design money.
Sheffield said, "The restoration, or restoring, of Murphy High School will take approximately eight to ten months of design time, and approval through the state in an estimate of $25 to $30 Million in construction dollars, over and beyond everything we're doing right now."
He said right now, there's no guarantee that it can be done.
WHERE CAN THE MONEY COME FROM?
Sheffield isn't holding out hope that the federal government, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, will help.
He said, "It appears right now, as of today, FEMA is not going to accept us or approve us as a qualified claim applicant, so, if FEMA does not say we're even eligible, we have no one to lean on except the state of Alabama."
What can be done?
The Facilities Director said, "I think that's the only way we'll do it financially is with support from legislation."
Sheffield said he and Superintendent Martha Peek have already talked with legislators like Senator Vivian Davis Figures, who worked to get money for Enterprise High School when it was destroyed by a tornado.
He said, "I helped her with numbers and planning and costs, so, she was the first I called, so, I said, 'Remember Enterprise? Well, I need your help now,' and Randy Davis, alumnus of Murphy, band director of Murphy, Randy's in it full board."
The legislature convenes February 5.
FRESHMEN BACK IN CLASS THURSDAY
The last of Murphy High School's students went to back to class at Clark-Shaw Middle School Thursday.
Some talked about the transition.
Kevin Mooney said, "It was kind of stressful, but I kind of got used to it. Its still crazy though."
Shannon Harris said, "I feel like, kind of, like I'm back at middle school because, at Murphy, we had a little bit of freedom and now here. We have all the same rules we had in middle school and its just so much stricter, and I guess that's not really a bad. Its just hard to adjust."
The Murphy students began returning to class Monday, starting with seniors.
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