Alto ISD making progress in repairs to damage caused by April storms

Alto ISD making progress in repairs to damage caused by April storms

ALTO, Texas (KTRE) - Alto ISD has made progress in the major repair work that needed to be done to its buildings, facilities, and properties when violent storms blew through East Texas back in April.

Superintendent Kelly West released a statement saying the school district has filed a $10 million dollar insurance claim. She said 11 portable buildings have been placed to create temporary classrooms for the high school.

West said although they’ve made progress, the school district is waiting for insurance claims to clear before starting more heavy lifting. This includes roofing for all the buildings, fencing, lighting for sports fields, scoreboards, bleachers, installation of water, gas, sewer and electricity for the new portable buildings.

West said for the time being, the school has made plans with area churches to hold teacher in-service days and band camp before school officially starts on August 19.

The school district’s high school campus, gymnasium, and baseball field all suffered significant damage as a result of the storms.

West said that the football stadium will be ready to host games this fall. She said basketball teams for junior high and high school will play all their games on the road this year. No decisions have been made on the seasons for baseball and softball.

Alto ISD Superintendent Kelly West issued the following statement:

When the April storms hit Alto ISD, we knew the rebuilding process would be a lengthy one.

We, the school board and myself, appreciate the community’s patience during the last three months. We have been relatively quiet throughout this time to protect the district’s insurance claim.

At this time, we would like to update our community to allow everyone to be on the same page. From the highway it might appear that work is not progressing, but I assure you that we are moving in a forward direction. While that movement is not as quick as we would like for it to be, it will happen. We will have a safe place for our children on August 19th. It may not be the most ideal situation, but we will make the most of these terrible circumstances to the best of our ability.

What has been done:

Clean-up, Sanitization, and State Clearances ($3 million)

• Clean-up of damaged classrooms on three campuses and outlying buildings

• Water mitigation

• Drying and air quality testing – no mold, mildew, or contaminants in buildings

• Repair and cleaning of all existing HVAC and duct work to ensure clean air for students and staff

• Removal of all remaining asbestos from district buildings

• Testing of all electrical wiring to ensure safety after water damage

Portable High School Campus

• Acquisition ($41,500), transport, and stabilization of portable campus

Technology ($300,000)

• Relocation of district technology hub from damaged location in high school

• Installation of new fiber runs

• Tying in portable campus to network

• Cleaning and restoration of damaged computers, electronics, and projectors

Architect Designs & Engineering (Not invoiced to date)

Required by the state to ensure the safety of all students

• Designs of all gas, electric, and water lines for portable campus

• Designs of ramping system for ADA compliance for portable campus

• Designs submitted for a temporary elementary gym

• Designs submitted for all new roofing for district buildings

Waiting on Insurance Approval:

Collection and Submission of Estimates for Repair and Rebuilding to Insurance

• Roofing for all district buildings (estimated $2.1 million)

• Fencing – replacing all damaged areas (over $100,000)

• Lighting – football, softball, baseball (over $200,000)

• Scoreboards – football, softball, baseball, basketball (approximately $75,000)

• Bleachers – football, HS gym, Elementary gym (over $300,000)

• Track (approximately $400,000)

• Marquee (approximately $25,000)

• Band hall, cafeteria, HS gym, library, classrooms in math wing of high school, middle school and elementary school – repair damages, flooring, ceiling, paint, furniture (estimates still in progress)

• Installation of water, gas, electric, and sewer to portable campus (estimates still in progress)

• Renovation of portable buildings - painting, flooring, ramps, furniture (estimates still in progress)

• Temporary elementary gym (bids in process)

• Baseball press box and concession stand (to be addressed in the fall)

• Repair or demolition of existing high school (Status to be determined on what insurance will pay before AISD decides on how best to proceed.)

We continue to wait on insurance approval before beginning work due to the magnitude of our claim. When dealing with taxpayer funds, it is not in the district’s best interest to gamble with our savings in hopes that insurance will reimburse the district. It is best practice to wait for insurance approval before tackling projects of this size. The district is facing a minimum of a $10 million dollar claim, and insurance is very selective about the process they follow before payment and work can begin. Again, although it may not appear visible externally, the work on this recovery effort has been around the clock since the night of April 13th. As the funding becomes available, more visible progress will begin to be seen. Shortly after the storm, it was stated that the complete process could take two years. This timeline is very accurate.

The Board of Trustees and I appreciate everyone’s patience and trust. We will not rest until AISD is repaired.

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