SMITHVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- The town of Smithville presses forward with its rebuilding efforts after the devastating tornado that hit in April 2011.
Many say a giant piece of the town's recovery is the school.
Since consturction crews broke ground, the rebuilding has been moving at a near-record page.
Because of that, some of the construction is further along than originally planned.
With the help of weather cooperating and a number of other factors, the Smithville School is a couple of weeks ahead of schedule on its rebuilding plans.
"Our goal has always been be back on campus by 2013," said Chad O'Brian, principal of Smithville High School. "We feel like we're on pace to do that."
Both the high school and junior high buildings are about 90 percent complete, whereas the elementary building is somewhere between 50 to 60 percent complete.
"We like where we are," adds O'Brian. "We do get a little bad weather this time of year, but fortunately we're at a stage in the process where a lot of the things that we need to do can be done even in bad weather. [For example,] with the elementary building, there is a lot of work that can start on the inside."
Two other major projects at the Smithville school complex will be the band hall and gymnasium. Officials say the band hall's footings have been poured and construction is expected to get started in the first week of January on the new gymnasium.
"The gym is a 300-day contract, so if we can start construction in the first of the year, that puts us finishing up by the end of October," adds O'Brian. "That gives us two or three weeks prior to when basketball starts, so we're real hopeful to playing our games on campus next year."
For Smithville, the school symbolizes a major piece of the town's rebuilding efforts.
"We know the school is the backbone of the town here and it's just a great boost for morale," adds O'Brian. "If you drive through Smithville, it's not just the school. It's the people. When you see this town coming back the way it is, [with] everything it's fought through, the people have always been behind the school. They've always supported us."
When the bell rings on the first day of school in August of this coming year, there are expected to be around 550 students in grades pre-K through 12th grade.