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Wadena-Deer Creek breaks ground on new 5-12 school

Photo by Steve Schulz From left, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden, Congressman Chip Cravaack and Wadena-Deer Creek School Board Chairwoman Ann Pate clap along to a song shortly after breaking ground for a new Wadena-Deer Creek school, which is scheduled for completion in September 2012.1 / 2
Photo by Steve Schulz Wadena-Deer Creek Superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom smiles as she turns over a shovel of dirt at the site where a new grades 5-12 school will be built by September 2012. A groundbreaking was held Friday afternoon, May 6.2 / 2

Less than a year after an EF4 tornado destroyed Wadena-Deer Creek High School, ground was broken Friday to build a new school for grades 5-12 set to open in September 2012.

All of the 172 chairs that were set up for spectators were full, and dozens more stood in front of the site along Minnesota Highway 29 where the school will one day stand.

WDC School Board Chairwoman Ann Pate credited the "cooperation and collaboration" of the school community with making the new school possible.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar said she was struck by the devastation she saw in the days after the tornado. She said the violent storm took the school building, many businesses and homes.

"But it didn't take this area's resilience," Klobuchar said. "It didn't take this city's spirit."

Congressman Chip Cravaack said the region's response to the tornadoes showed character.

"You refused to let this wear you down," he said. "This truly was your defining moment. You rose to the occasion."

WDC High School Principal Tyler Church pointed to the ground where the new school will stand and said, "When this building is constructed, it's going to be something we're incredibly proud of."