Aplington-Parkersburg High School students are entering a new building this morning for the first day of classes. A tornado destroyed the old school and a large chunk of Parkersburg on May 25, 2008.

The town suffered another loss in June of this year when long-time football coach and teacher Ed Thomas was shot to death. Mark Becker, a former player, is charged in the slaying. A-P high school principal Dave Meyer says the new building will be a nice change for students, who spent last year in an elementary building.

"They dealt with a lot of adversity over the last 14 months," Meyer said. "We educate kids and you don’t know where your lessons on adversity are going to come from, but they’ve certainly had their share of lessons…and we’re pretty proud of how they’ve handled themselves as students."

The Aplington-Parkersburg School District has around 800 students with 240 in 9th through 12th grade.  Meyer says the new building isn’t completely finished, but classrooms are ready and students will have access to the media center and cafeteria.

"All the floors may not be shiny yet and maybe all the items won’t be put away, but (the students) will be in our academic wings," Meyer said. "The areas that won’t be complete until late October or early November are our locker rooms, the gymnasium, wrestling room, weight room and our fine arts center auditorium."

Around 100 students and local residents helped move desks and furniture into the new building last week. Meyer says other volunteers from Parkersburg and beyond have made the new high school possible. "We are so appreciative of the people in Iowa and also there were people from across the country, mission groups that came as well.

Aplington-Parkersburg will remember that and when there’s a time of need somewhere in the state, we’ll be the first to volunteer," Meyer said. The new high school cost around $9 million.