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Vidor ISD breaks ground on new middle school after years-long wait

Harvey destroyed Vidor Middle School and Oak Forest Elementary, but the district is finally ready to move forward with rebuilding.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Images after Tropical Storm Harvey destroyed Vidor Middle School and Oak Forest Elementary still haunt students and teachers in Orange County.

Harvey destroyed the two schools, but they're finally ready to move forward with rebuilding thanks to some help from FEMA.

On Thursday, members from the school district and the community gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of a rebuild project.

FEMA played a big role in the rebuilding process. Vidor Independent School District says it received nearly $19 million for the project.

It's taken three years after the storm to get the engines running and the funds to rebuild the two schools. Students have been without a regular classroom ever since.

“Our fifth-grade students are housed on our high school campus in portable buildings. Our sixth graders are on our junior high campus in portable buildings, and those campuses are not near each other,” one Vidor ISD teacher told 12News.

The district received over 90 percent of funds from FEMA. That's $18.6 million, and the district is paying the additional from their fund balance.

G and G construction has already began rebuilding Oak Forest Elementary. The new designs for the school's structure will include lifting the building 18 inches off the ground.

This is higher than most flood situations, and the district is confident the elevated structure will defend against future flood situations.

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