Byy Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TWIN HILLS, OK -- Fire tore through a nearly 100 year old school building last year in the Okmulgee County community of Twin Hills. Flames reduced the building to rubble, but now it's been rebuilt.

Students and staff are eager to start the next chapter in the school's history.

One month shy of celebrating 100 years.

"That was a terrible day you know. All of us shed a lot of tears," said Bob Pinkston, Twin Hills School Principal.

Instead of celebrating in February, 2009, the Twin Hills Community mourned the loss of a landmark.

"We just stood and watched it, and there was nothing we could do about it," Pinkston said.

Nothing they could do except watch a building full of memories go up in smoke.

But it is a year of rebirth for Twin Hills, and a year later the community has a new school.

"This is our new building, and - hey - we're proud of it," the principal said.

It's nearly a mirror image of the old school.

"Some of the old and a lot of the new on the inside," Pinkston said.

The old includes the rock in the walls, salvaged from the smoldering rubble now cleaned and proudly included in the design. Some have been placed in the very same spot.

"When they tore it down I was here we got that rock out of that mess and I told the brick masons I want it put right there.

The new: everything else.

"It's really cool in there. They have a boys' bathroom and a girls' bathroom and the toilets flush by themselves for one thing," said Karson Gilbert, 8, a Twin Hills second grader.

"I'm excited because I like the classrooms, and it's really cool and they have like rainbows clouds and suns painted on the walls," said Madison Atwell, also a Twin Hills second grader, age 8.

But the $1.7 million building was built with more than just money. It was built with the love and generosity straight from Oklahoma's heart.

"I lost my two front teeth and I got $4. I gave it to the school," Karson said.

The grand opening for the new school building was Thursday night.