ALTO, Texas (KTRE) - District Superintendent Kelly West peeks in one of several portable buildings the district acquired last week. Some are older and in need of refurbishing, but they’re affordable.
“By state law, you can’t gift public funds, but Rusk, Center, and Whitehouse all sold us their portables for a dollar a piece," said West.
Another generous gesture came in the way of guidance. Van ISD superintendent Don Dunn dealt with tornado damages in 2015. Tyler ISD superintendent Marty Crawford was superintendent for West ISD when a fertilizer plant exploded in 2013. They both called Superintendent West and provided what she said was the most helpful advice yet.
"(They told me) The patience and time it takes to go thru a claim like ours."
The district is still waiting on insurance reimbursements, as contractors steadily work on tasks, including asbestos mitigation.
"Right now, we are about $3-million in water mitigation, cleanup, shared West. “Along with the cost of transporting our portables. The cost of rewiring a lot of things. The insurance money we have received doesn't come close to touching that yet."
“Our number one goal for the summer is to make sure the portable campus is in place,” said Kelly West, Alto ISD superintendent. “Now that we have about all the buildings on site - we lack only one building being here - water, electricity, sewer, internet; all those things have to happen next.”
In addition to all of those services, Alto ISD employees will be cleaning the portables as well. Then, teachers will have to move their things in to turn the empty rooms into classrooms for learning.
Accepting the challenge is the theme of the upcoming school year in Alto. Students will learn a lot in these portable buildings during the school year, but they'll receive a life lesson from the April 13 experience."
"Just being resilient, moving forward and knowing everything will work out in the end,” said high school principal, Shanequa Dorsey.
"And work thru it because in the end, it will all be okay," assured West.
School starts on August 19.