School board decides not to build school in Pilger to replace the one clobbered by tornado


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WISNER, Nebraska — The tiny town of Pilger won't be getting a new middle school to replace the one that was heavily damaged by a tornado last June.

The Wisner-Pilger school board voted Monday to build replacement school building in Wisner, which sits about a dozen miles east-southeast of Pilger in northeast Nebraska.

On June 16 an EF4 twister destroyed or damaged more than half of Pilger, which has about 350 residents. The school had housed kindergarten through 12th grades until the local district merged with the Wisner district in 1968.

Wisner resident Cindy Goeller told the board that people had been hard at work "to reinvent Pilger."

"Wisner already has two schools and Pilger has none," Goeller said. "There is a passionate need for the Wisner-Pilger Middle School to be rebuilt in Pilger, not only for the town's sake, but also for the district, to attract families back."

She urged the board to delay its decision until after the next Pilger recovering meeting next week, the Norfolk Daily News reported ( ).

But the board voted unanimously for erecting a building for pre-kindergarten-through-sixth-grade students at the junior/senior high school site in Wisner and consolidating all grade levels at that location. The current Wisner elementary school will be closed.

District Superintendent Chad Boyer backed the board's decision.

"We will have a one-campus site," Boyer said. "It will bring a lot of opportunities for our students and staff as we move forward."

The district hopes to start construction this spring and move into the new school in August 2017, Boyer said. The district has about 475 students, he said, including 75 students who live in Pilger or in rural homes nearby.

Information from: Norfolk Daily News,

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