Modular Campus Gets Texas Students Back to School on Time after Fertilizer Plant Explosion
When a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas, this past April, the community not only had to cope with the shock, but also with the loss of some basic services. Along with other infrastructure, the town’s schools took a hit. The district's only intermediate and high school were almost completely destroyed, and the middle school suffered significant damage.
Community leaders went to work right away to plan a solution. A top priority on their list was making sure that the students could continue to go to school in the same geographic area, despite the challenges.
Temporary modular buildings were the answer. After demolition work, prefab buildings were trucked in to fill the empty site and enable students to get back to school on time and in the same location. West ISD also received donated portable classrooms from several North Texas school districts, which together with the new modular buildings, accommodated more than 700 students.
Manufactured and installed by Ramtech Building Systems, the 70,000-square-foot campus includes three 10-classroom buildings, four computer and science labs, two locker room buildings, an administrative office, cafeteria, library, band hall and a life skills building. All of the buildings were constructed with a 26-gauge R-panel metal exterior, and have interiors that incorporate vinyl covered gypsum for the walls and vinyl composition tiles on the floors.
All of the modular school buildings for this $2.5 million project were leased through the Texas BuyBoard cooperative purchasing network and will be used for the next two years while new facilities are constructed.
“It’s beneficial for us because our staff is used to teaching our kids here,” said Dr. Marty Crawford, West ISD Superintendent. “Our parents are used to coming to visit their kids at school here. They’re used to the extracurricular activities being played here. Everything is centered around our community, and it makes sense to have our kids back to school in our town.”
The interim campus is part of the first phase of The Restore West ISD building program, the ongoing effort to rebuild and repair the intermediate/middle and high schools. Because West Elementary School was not damaged significantly in the blast, those students were able to return to their original school.
Ramtech worked closely with construction manager Bartlett Cocke and Huckabee Architecture to complete the multi-building campus on a small six-acre site in just 60 days. According to Gary White, Ramtech Vice President of Sales and Estimating, “All of the parties involved in this effort were committed to having these kids back in their own school by the start of the new school year, and we were honored to have played a part in making that happen."
Follow the progress of the West rebuilding effort at restorewestisd.com.
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