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ELLIS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) The tornado outbreak in December of 2015 left damage across North Texas, including in the Red Oak Independent School District at Shields Elementary School. The school was ripped apart by an EF-1 twister that touched down in the Dallas-area on the day after Christmas.

That was then…

(credit: Red Oak Independent School District)

(credit: Red Oak Independent School District)

This week teachers are officially back at the school on West Ovilla Road in Glenn Heights — after eight months away. Students haven’t been on the campus since 2015, so there’s even more enthusiasm for the start of the new school year. Principal Shondra Jones said, “We are so excited and I can’t wait to see their faces when they walk in.”

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

CBS 11 News was there as teachers toured the renovated building for the first time. The school suffered massive structural damage, so a great deal of the new Shields Elementary is new construction.

Students, teachers and staff had to move to the former Red Oak Junior High, located on nearby Live Oak Street, while campus repairs and renovations were underway.

Principal Jones says it’s good to be home. “Like I told them in December, it’s a semester long field trip that we’re over on Live Oak. But now that we’re back home, we can breathe and we can re-acclimate ourselves and just relax.”

According to Red Oak ISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Niven, some $13 million was spent making repairs on the campus. Jones says the work was well done. “Wow. It’s just amazing. It’s incredible the progress I’ve seen, from that day to right now, it is awesome.”

Since the tornado touched down during Christmas break no one was at the school and there were no injuries.

Shields Elementary students — about 500 kids in total — will be back at school on Monday.

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