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

By Rachelle Klemme Groundbreaking participants fling dirt into the air. From left, WDC Superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom, Congressman Chip Cravaack, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, School Board Chairwoman Ann Pate, and John Moenkedick, school board member.1 / 3
Photo by Steve Schulz Wadena-Deer Creek Superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom stopped to smile while digging in the dirt where the next WDC secondary school will soon stand. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new school was held May 6.2 / 3
Photo by Steve Schulz U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden, Congressman Chip Cravaack and School Board Chairwoman Ann Pate applaud during the groundbreaking ceremony May 6.3 / 3

Less than a year after an EF4 tornado destroyed Wadena-Deer Creek High School, ground was broken Friday, May 9 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."