Jun 16 2007

FEMA awards $6.5 million to rebuild Enterprise High

Dothan Eagle

By Jim Cook

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is going to chip in about $6.5 million to rebuild Enterprise High School.

Current estimates peg the cost of rebuilding Enterprise High and Hillcrest Elementary School, which were both nearly leveled by a March 1 tornado, at between $50 and $79 million. Including the FEMA award and an estimated insurance payout, the system has about $64 million to $67 million to rebuild.

FEMA usually pays for disaster-related reconstruction costs that state appropriations and insurance don't cover on a 75-25 split between the agency and state and local resources.

Enterprise City School Superintendent Jim Reese said he was pleased with the award and hoped that the schools insurers would soon make a final award determination. Enterprise High students will attend classes at Enterprise-Ozark Community College and Hillcrest Elementary School students will use a recently completed primary school campus until new schools are built.

"We want to try to get the schools built as quickly as we can," Reese said. "Our students are our primary concern."

Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, both Republicans, announced FEMA's funding decision Friday afternoon. Shelby, Sessions and U.S. Rep. Terry Everett, R-Rehobeth, have all worked to secure FEMA funding for Enterprise.