At a called special emergency meeting Monday evening, February 21, the KISD School Board heard from a representative of Blackmon Mooring Restoration Services and then Superintendent Gee.
Thirty-five to 45 people were in attendance at the meeting which was called to order at 6 pm by Board President John Clark. All board members were in attendance.
The first report came from Blackmon Mooring, the company that was retained by KISD to handle the clean-up and restoration. They have been on site since called in on Saturday and the early reports of extensive damage have proven true.
Drying, demolition and restoration …
The Blackmon Mooring spokesman said they have been working around the clock. The drying process would continue throughout the next week. He felt that 95% of the books and computer equipment would be salvageable. The next part of the process would be the demolition. What would follow would be the restoration of the building. Based on the amount of damage, it would take months and did not expect the building to be open before the end of the school year.
For those who have not followed the events, James Arthur Intermediate School, which houses all 5th and 6th-grade students in KISD, suffered a major flooding event when a major water pipe under the foundation burst. It happened over the weekend when no one was present. It ran so long undetected that water burst out the side of the building, knocking bricks off the wall. It burst through the interior flooring causing a crack that ran along the floor and up the wall. Water flooded the building that at one point was 4 inches deep along the length of a major hallway.
Superintendent maps out plan …
Superintendent Gee confirmed the findings of Mooring, saying James Arthur was closed for the remainder of the year. He did say that many parents and residents had offered their help. He really wanted to thank everyone but the company that they had hired was handling everything. He did add that they had asked the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for funds for repairs but received notice that no state funds were available.
Gee went on to say that he and his staff have been in meetings since this happened, working on the best possible solution. The decision was to continue in-school classes for all Arthur students. This would be done by relocating the students to other school campuses.
- All 6th-grade students would be moved to Kennedale Junior High School for the remainder of the year.
- All 5th-grade students would be moved to R.F. Patterson Elementary.
- Bus transportation would be changed to accommodate the changes giving students on the westside US287 would have transportation to Patterson.
- All James Arthur students would be back in class this coming Monday, February 28.
Meetings with Arthur staff are scheduled for Tuesday morning to plan the details. Parents will be notified as more information becomes available. Gee asked for everyone’s patience. It will work out he assured the Board and those in attendance.
The last item of business concerned asking TEA for a waiver on required attendance days so that students will not be penalized for days missed – that process is ongoing.