The new school sits on the same piece of land it stood before the tornado came through.
The 98-thousand square foot facility is also on part of the land of the old Enterprise High School.
"We are just excited to be back in our home. It has been 2 years and we have been watching this building progress" says Cindy Sanders, the school’s reading specialist.
It’s a relief for teachers and principal Hugh Williams to be back where they belong.
Hillcrest elementary school has been in construction for 14 months and is open for the 2009-2010 school year.
"The last 2 years we were at the kindergarten center which was supposed to open for kindergarteners in the fall of '07. Luckily it had been completed so we had somewhere to go for 2 years while they were rebuilding our school" says Williams.
The new school comes fully loaded with many new resources including a state of the art media center, activity rooms, and music classroom.
During Sunday’s open house, the faculty had a big mission to accomplish.
"To let members of the community, parents, and children see the building and see how 14 million dollars of their tax money was used to rebuild a first class school" says Williams.
A portion of each of the hallways can be used as a storm shelter. Students and faculty can gather inside and shut these special metal doors and be protected, even against a tornado.
"In all 3 wings, all the students from the different classes can come in and shut the doors and the windows have metal coverings over them and this will accommodate the whole student body. If a storm comes through they will be safe from now on. We are also doing the new high school that way" says Architect Andy Sharpe.
About 560 students will be attending hillcrest this year.
The school has the capacity to accommodate 750 students.
Wednesday, august 12th is the first day of school.
Grades one through 6 will be learning in their new school and the kindergarten center will be open just for kindergarteners for now on.
Parents can still enroll their children into hillcrest elementary. The school serves enterprise and surrounding areas.
For more information, you can call the school at 347-6858