CASTLEWOOD, S.D. (KELO) — People in Castlewood are making a lot of progress on rebuilding after a tornado tore through the town in May of 2022.
It’s been more than a year and a half since an EF2 tornado tore through Castlewood destroying several homes and parts of the school.
“There’s approximately 20 homes, you know, that had to be taken out, you know, 60-70 homes that were affected by the tornado itself. So, you know, the damage sure, added up quite fast,” said Mayor Brian Ries, Castlewood.
Since then, many of the destroyed homes have been cleared and repairs are taking place on homes that were damaged.
“We’ve definitely come a long ways in this year, year and a half, it becomes the new norm, what you see you you kind of forget what what it used to look like, in a sense, because you’re just used to seeing it this way,” Ries said.
One of the homes severely damaged was Brenda Boyd’s. She’s a lifelong resident of Castlewood.
“It was not enough to be condemned, thankfully. So we weren’t displaced like many were. But it was enough where it exceeded what the insurance wanted to pay out to get it fixed,” said Brenda Boyd, lifelong resident.
The Boyd family lived in that home for decades..
“It’s been a grieving process. It really has. We got to spend a winter there, which was really interesting…And we’re finally ready. It’s like, Yep, let’s let’s just be done,” Boyd said.
She and her husband decided to build a new home right behind their old one, instead of leaving the area.
“Everything we owned, was virtually still there. But to fit all those years of memories from the attic to floors, you know, into a smaller house was probably the biggest issue,” Boyd said.
Over across the street from the Boyd house, repairs are underway at the school.
“We definitely feel better about where we’re at with the module units, and that we know where all the students are gonna go,” said Peter Books, Superintendent of Castlewood School.
There are three big projects under construction for the summer. Books says they are working to turn the old gym into additional classroom space, rebuild the kitchen and lunchroom, and build a new garage and bus barn.
“Our hope is to add new square footage as well. So there’s, there’s definitely different levels and phases of what we’re trying to do,” Books said.
“They’re definitely making it more feel like a school I guess. Because there’s not- when you came in last year, it wasn’t like- it looked not good. And it just wasn’t as pretty as we thought it was going to be,” said Karli Akin, Senior.
Karli Akin will be a senior this upcoming school year. She says it was interesting navigating the rebuild at the beginning of the year.
“They really made a good- did a good job at like, making sure everybody knew what they were doing and knew where they were going and everything with, especially with the younger kids too,” Akin said.
As repairs continue, Akin says it’s nice to see the area slowly become a school again.
“They’re constructing the cafeteria and making sure we’re back in the school. We don’t feel necessarily as like a campus and we feel more like a school and we feel all like connected,” Akin said.
As repairs continue, Ries says the town and community of Castlewood will continue moving forward.
“You know that process could take you know, two to three years. So we’re gonna continue to see that continued growth and and rebuild back process from the tornado from last year,” Ries said.
A school bond failed back in March. The School board hopes they can get a new one passed this fall.