BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (WMBB) — Almost four years after Hurricane Michael, school officials and students turned shovels Wednesday morning on the new Blountstown Elementary School.

The old campus was declared a total loss after the storm and elementary students were spread out over as many as four different locations.

Kindergarten and first graders are now learning at a campus made up entirely of portables.

Principal Jonetta Dawson is anxious to have all the students back in one centralized location.

“This will be beneficial not only for the faculty and staff but also for parents. For parents that have students at both of our campuses, that’s a lot of running back and forth. Our lunchroom ladies. They have been bussing back and forth. We have a van and they carry both breakfast and lunch back and forth every single day.”

State grants are covering almost all of the $30 million project. Two million is locally funded.

The new building will boast 35 classrooms.

“We see this one as kind of the final step in trying to put back the district and our facilities and getting our students and our instructional situations back whole again so we are extremely excited about this project and I think it is kind of a statement of we are finally getting back.”

School officials are hoping the new building will open in the fall of 2024.