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West ISD Demolishing Schools Damaged by Plant Explosion

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

April’s fertilizer plant explosion left three of the four schools in the town of West, Texas destroyed or irreparably damaged, with the intermediate school completely flattened by the blast.

But, when school starts in August, the district says students won't have to be bused to other districts.

Pre-K through fifth grade students will go to the elementary school campus. Most of the high school campus was also destroyed, so sixth through 12th grades will go to the middle school campus that, while damaged, can continue operating.  

“We hope that our secondary kids so they can get their school experience rebooted and loaded to what is normal other than having to go to school in temporary facilities," said West ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford.

The district will use portable classrooms to house the extra students on those two campuses.

Another issue is ensuring there’s enough space for extracurricular activities.  Four of the district’s five gyms were destroyed in the blast.  Crawford says the district will have to get creative when it comes to scheduling sports games and practices.

“We’ve got seven volleyball teams that are going to need to practice and or play and 14 basketball teams," Crawford said.

Officials estimate the repairs could cost up to $100 million and will take two to three years to complete. The district is still waiting to find out how much money its insurers will provide.

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