Groundbreaking held for replacement Goodman elementary school


A groundbreaking marks a turning point in the recovery from the Goodman tornado last year.

It’s the replacement for the elementary school lost on April 4th, 2017. And today marks a big celebration in the progress toward a bigger and better school.

“A lot of the town here is, 80 – 90 percent of the town is here,” says Meghan Steele.

Goodman alum Megan Steele is getting a chance to reunite with former teachers and remember the school she’ll never see again.

“Bittersweet, knowing the old building is gone but there’s going to be new beginnings for the kids and the future of Goodman,” says Steele.

Steele and retired teacher Charlotte Miller are getting a peek into the future – the school Goodman will start to see take shape in the coming months.

“This is awesome – I am so thankful to have my school back,” says Charlotte Miller.

They’re part of a crowd of hundreds, celebrating the return of Goodman Elementary. There’s singing,a few words about what the new school will look like, and of course, the golden shovels, turning dirt. Neosho Superintendent Dan Decker points out this is an opportunity to transform what started out as a loss.

“So I think one of the most exciting things is that out of  a tragedy like this we get to build back a facility that’s more innovative and more what students need,” says Decker.

And no one may be more excited about what’s to come than Lucky Ulmer, the janitor who survived the storm in the school.

“The school done and everybody back reunited – I mean they’re reunited but it’s not the same as being at Goodman at home,” says Lucky Ulmer.

An EF-2 tornado wiped out the old school exactly a year ago, temporarily moving classes to other buildings in the Neosho School District. The new school is expected to open in the fall of 2019 – and yes, it will include a storm shelter.

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