Students in Miller return to school building after Ag shop explosion

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 4:12 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MILLER, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - For the first time since February, students in Miller were able to return to their school building for classes.

After a spark flew into an oil barrel and caused an explosion in Miller’s Ag shop on February 2nd, students finished out the previous school year in local churches.

That’s why the students are happy the first day of this school year feels a bit more conventional.

“It’s nice to be back. It’s all nice and clean and a lot of new stuff. It feels good to be here instead of back in a church. I didn’t really think I’d miss being in this building, but I did a bit,” said senior Ally Mullaney.

Smoke damage from the explosion did ruin some of the school’s most valuable resources.

”They threw away all of our textbooks K through 12, so we ordered all new curriculum for all subject areas, which was a pretty overwhelming process,” said Miller Principal Steve Schumacher.

While a fresh coat of paint and new carpet has repaired most of the school, the Ag shop has been completely demolished for reconstruction.

”The biggest adjustment is probably for our Ag kids because they’re not able to use the Ag shop this year. They’re going to start rebuilding that and that’ll take the whole school year,” said Schumacher.

Ag classes have been moved to a smaller classroom. Some subjects, like welding, had to be cut from the schedule.

Senior Trevor Werdel was one of the students in the Ag shop when the explosion occurred, but he says he’d rather be back in it than in the temporary classroom.

”I miss the shop though, don’t have a shop. We still have a classroom, it’s right across the hall, but it’s not in the shop. We got a shed outside and just have little hands-on stuff out there,” said Werdel.

Schumacher says it’s students like Werdel that he feels are losing out on the most.

“I know that they’re very happy to be back in the building. The only thing I do feel a little bad for is our Ag students that are seniors because they’ll miss out on the regular Ag classroom, but I think they understand the situation,” said Schumacher.

Overall, the students at Miller are relieved to be back in their building, and are ready to expect the unexpected.

”It feels nice to be back. It’s not as chaotic. I think everyone’s just happy to be back in the building. I think we’re ready for anything to happen now just because so much has happened the past few years,” said junior Alex Schumacher.

Miller School District officials say the new Ag building will be fully rebuilt and open by August of 2023.