After tornado, high school will be at the shopping mall

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 10, 2011 7:43 PM
After tornado, high school will be at the shopping mall

KANSAS CITY, Mo (Reuters) - If high school students in Joplin, Missouri, actually get tired of hanging out at the mall later this year, nobody could blame them.

Classes for juniors and seniors will be held in a shopping mall in 2011-12 because a May 22 tornado destroyed Joplin High School, school officials announced. Classrooms will be created in an 80,000-square foot space vacated years ago by a large retailer at Northpark Mall.

While holding high school classes at a shopping mall "is a little bit different," the environment is not as important as the high quality education students will continue to receive, said Angie Besendorfer, an assistant superintendent of Joplin public schools.

"A school is more than a building," Besendorfer said Friday.

About 1,000 to 1,200 students will attend the school in the mall starting August 17. The space is near a Macy's in a mall that has about 100 retail outlets, movie theaters and restaurants.

The tornado, which killed 151 people, damaged or destroyed 10 schools and other buildings in the public school system.

Freshmen and sophomores from the high school will be taught at another education facility in the community. Elementary and middle school students will go to various temporary locations, school officials said.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Jerry Norton)