NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Thursday marks six months since a series of tornadoes tore through Middle Tennessee, killing 25 and injuring hundreds.
More than a dozen tornadoes touched down across Tennessee on March 2-3 and damaged or destroyed multiple schools, along with hundreds of homes and businesses.
A long-track tornado, that spanned across 60 miles, hit Davidson, Wilson, Putnam and Smith counties.
In Putnam County, a violent EF4 tornado killed 19 people and left behind catastrophic damage.
At Donelson Christian Academy in Davidson County, nearly every inch of the roof has been replaced since the tornado. The school of 700 students took a direct hit.
Wow. 6 months since the deadly storms in Middle Tennessee. The tornado that blew through @DCAWildcats campus wiped out the elementary school, toppled 100 trees and swung the press box off the bleachers to mid-field. They’re rebuilding at an incredible pace @nc5 pic.twitter.com/uCD05sU76d— Hannah McDonald (@Hannah_NC5) September 3, 2020
Six months later, half of the student population is already back in the building. Headmaster Keith Singer attributes that to the volunteers who mobilized in droves in the days after the tornado. They clocked more than 11,000 volunteer hours.
Singer described the night of the tornado, saying he arrived in the parking lot shortly after 1 a.m. Other faculty were showing up, too, and were all stunned by the damage.
The elementary school was wiped out and the athletic fields were destroyed. Roughly 100 mature trees were brought down, too.
In six months, they've replaced the roof, turf, utility poles, exterior walls and reconfigured the high school. The cafeteria was destroyed, so students are eating outside.
Pre-K through fifth graders are learning off campus at First Baptist Donelson and Hermitage Hills Baptist Church. Those spaces have been fully converted for the schoolyear.
“Our faculty and staff worked so hard. And both of those locations, when you walk on campus are just incredible places. Our parents have been blown away with all that our faculty and staff and principals did to get those places ready,” Singer said.
Insurance is paying to replace what was here, but DCA has bigger plans. They want to build a theater and do away with modular buildings. A 4.5-million fundraiser is underway, and they're almost half of the way there.
MORE TORNADO COVERAGE
- Here's what to know about the tornadoes that killed 24 in Tennessee
- How to help victims of the Tennessee tornadoes
- NES: Most power should be restored by Monday
- Five children among 18 killed in Putnam County tornado
- Deadly Tennessee Tornado stayed on the ground for 50 miles
- Two killed in East Nashville, at least 20 hurt after tornado rips through downtown
- Three dead, widespread damage reported in Wilson County
- Emergency shelters opened after deadly tornado
- 'Unbelievable damage' in Donelson after tornado passes through Middle Tennessee
- 18 dead in Putnam County after tornado hits Middle Tennessee
- GALLERY: Here are the victim's of the March tornadoes