WEST (CBSDFW.COM) – West ISD has spent the past weeks scrambling to provide classroom space to replace the three schools damaged in April’s chemical plant explosion.

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West’s new school isn’t much too look at. In fact, its not a single school building. It is a sprawling maze of tan portable buildings surrounding the damaged frame of the old intermediate school.

“It looks like a construction site, really,” said James Morgan, a West senior.

West Middle School (credit: CBS 11)

West Middle School (credit: CBS 11)

Technically, it is a construction site. Students were arriving for classes as construction crews continued to add to the maze of portable buildings that are now West’s high school and junior high school. A week ago, most of these buildings weren’t here.

There are lots of challenges on the new campus; finding where classes are for starters.

Also, from junior high to varsity, all football teams will have to share the same practice field. The new computer science building sits in the street still in pieces. There is only one cafeteria. There isn’t a band hall or principal’s office yet.

And people here love it.

“It’s like a fresh start, a brand new start,” said eleventh grade English teacher Laura Klander. “We’re excited because its brand new. We’re all going to be together for the first time!”

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It is a milestone for West, another step toward normalcy. For all its challenges and lack of aesthetics, this is a diversion the students have needed for a long time.

“Yeah, just to get your mind off things and o be with your friends,” said senior Magen Sepeda. “You can hang out during the summer but its different.”

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“I think it’s really important just being back with everybody,” Morgan said, “I don’t know how to explain it.”

West’s new school is a construction site. But it’s helping rebuild a needed sense of routine people have lacked here since April.

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