YADKINVILLE, NC – The crashing of splintered wood and broken bricks mark the sound of new beginnings at Courtney Elementary School in Yadkinville.
This week, construction crews are demolishing the school’s gym to build a new one, three months after a tornado destroyed it.
Dean Callahan and his son Braden watched as crews demolished the gym on Thursday.
Callahan says it’s a place where hundreds of families like his have made memories.
“I watched my son play his first basketball game here,” said Callahan. “I know his mother played basketball here. So there are a lot of memories involved with this building.”
The building was destroyed after an EF-2 tornado destroyed the building and left a path of destruction in Yadkin, Davie and Stokes Counties back in May
“It's definitely a reminder of what happened and how scary it can be especially for the kids and the parents that have kids that go here to Courtney,” said Callahan.
Demolition is expected to be done in two weeks before students return to school.
Then, construction can begin on a new gym.
“We are sad to see the gym disappear in the ashes we see behind us,” said Amy Rankin, Principal of Courtney Elementary School. “But we are so looking forward to be able to take a step forward and start a new chapter.”
Denny Key with Yadkin County Schools says insurance will pay for the construction of a new gym – similar to the old gym.
But the school needs more money to pay for upgrades, like air conditioning.
“If we decide to add air conditioning to the building, that's not covered under insurance because there was no air conditioning prior to the tornado,” said Key. “So that's something that donations could potentially go towards but that's a decision that will be made later.”
The school has already received more than $8,500 in donations from the community.
"Donations have been wonderful, coming in from different local businesses,” said Rankin. “That's been wonderful."
Families like the Callahans’ are looking forward to the opportunity to making new memories when the gym is rebuilt.
“It will be new and it will be refreshed and there will be new memories for all the kids that are here now and all the kids coming up,” said Callahan.
Students will use a multi-purpose for PE classes while the gym is being built.
Yadkin County School leaders hope the new gym will be ready by August of next year.