The planned demolition of the historic old West High School has been put on hold. The School Board’s demo decision faced heavy opposition from community members during a public forum last night.
Many of West ISD schools have had to be destroyed in light of the aftermath of the fertilizer plant explosion in April of 2013.
But one school building that was severely damaged remains: The old West High School building.
Earlier this year the West School Board voted unanimously to demolish the building. This would allow FEMA to allocate about 75-percent of what insurance wouldn’t pay on a new building. That would be around $3 million.
West ISD Board President Larry Hykel says the District needs the funding—but the decision isn’t easy to make.
“We all, seven of us, graduated from West High School at various times, throughout the past years, we all went to school in that building," said Hykel. "So any decision we make about that building is not taken lightly.”
The old West High School is the oldest building in the district. And with that comes a lot of history and a lot of people wanting to preserve that history.
Joe Mashek is a spokesman for the community coalition, Save the 1923 West High School Building. The group raised much of last night’s opposition. Mashek was concerned with the lack of the community’s knowledge of the decision to demolish the school.
“They said they’ve been talking about it for 7 or 8 months," said Mashek. "We never heard about it. Every time they discussed it, we did some research on the minutes of the board meetings, and they discussed it in executive session.”
Board President Hykel says the vote had been held during an open session.
He says for now the West School Board has no plans to tear down the school. They’ll close up the windows blown out by the blast to keep the weather out – and continue to work with the community on next steps.