West Plant Explosion
2:44 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Three of Four West ISD School Buildings Must be Partly to Fully Demolished After Explosion

Two school buildings in the city of West will have to be demolished because of damage from the deadly fertilizer plant explosion there nearly two weeks ago.

That’s what the Huckabee Architecture Engineering and Management Firm told West School District officials last night.

Both the intermediate school and the high school will have to be razed. Huckabee Inc. CEO Christopher Huckabee says though the high school appears to be okay, it sustained major structural damage and no part of it is worth saving.

“What we found is so substantial at the high school, I don’t think it would be cost effective," Huckabee said. "It would honestly be hunting for a needle in a haystack and the further you go, you just uncover more and more."

Most of a third school – the middle school – will also have to be demolished. The elementary school sustained just minor damage. In fact, younger kids are currently attending classes there. Older students are being transported to nearby Connally ISD.

“We believe the school district is a critical piece of the healing in the community and the sooner we can get these kids going to school in West, it’s going to be an important part of the overall healing in the community," Huckabee said.

Huckabee says school districts from across the state have offered temporary, portable buildings and classroom supplies.

The company hopes to have permanent facilities built by August of 2015.

Tomorrow morning, state lawmakers in the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee will hear from several state agencies that regulate facilities in the state – such as the one in West. The committee wants to know more about what’s being done as far as public safety.