Waverly opens new temporary school after 2021 flood

Elementary and junior high damaged by flooding will move into former boot factory this fall.
Both schools were ruined after deadly flooding killed 20 people.
Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 5:28 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Tuesday, after two long years, students and parents in Waverly saw the new elementary and junior high school during an open house.

Both schools were ruined after deadly flooding in 2021 killed 20 people. The new school is a temporary solution and the next step toward normalcy as school starts next week.

In Mistie Malone’s Waverly Junior High School library, on the shelves is something her students are not used to: brand new novels.

“They don’t deserve the books that came in the flood building, they deserve new books,” said Malone.

Books inside the junior and elementary school libraries were tarnished when the building flooded two summers ago. Since then, students have been learning in different classrooms in schools across Humphreys County. Now both will be under one roof.

“I feel like I’ve been visiting relatives for the past two years and I finally come home, sleep in my own bed in my own room,” said Malone.

Humphreys County Schools superintendent Richard Rye oversaw the building go from an old boot factory to 69 classrooms.

It’s been busy. The school was supposed to be done last year, but supply chain issues delayed the opening.

“It’s been bittersweet, I guess,” said Rye. “You look back and the last two years have been kind of a blur. We had so many things we had to get done and we didn’t think, we just jumped in there, everybody made it happen.”

The new connected schools are equipped with a cafeteria, playground and libraries. It’s a new normal Malone and other staff members are welcoming.

“I think it was hard, but the fact that we had it is a blessing in disguise too,” said Malone. “Because we have something that we would have never had before.”

The permanent elementary and junior high school locations will be on Highway 13 on the other side of town. Humphreys County said they will break ground in a few years.