56 Oklahoma Schools Damaged, Destroyed In Recent Severe Weather
OKLAHOMA CITY - Tornados and storms between May 19 and 31 damaged or destroyed school buildings in five separate districts, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi said Friday not only did tornados destroy schools in Moore and El Reno, storms heavily damaged educational buildings in Mid-Del, Crutcho and Moss.
"With 57 buildings sustaining various degrees of damage from minor to total destruction, the cost to rebuild or repair will total in the millions of dollars," Superintendent Barresi said.
On May 20, a tornado destroyed Briarwood and Plaza Towers elementary Schools in Moore. The same twister also severely damaged Highland East Junior High School. The school's administration building is uninhabitable and staff is now working out of the Moore High School Media Center.
The May 31 storms damaged another 20 sites in the Moore Public Schools system. The buildings sustained damage to roofs and air conditioning units. The same storm destroyed the Canadian Valley Technology Center in El Reno, and caused wind, water and hail damage to all seven sites in El Reno Public Schools. Lincoln, Hillcrest and Rose Witcher elementary schools are temporarily closed because their roofs have been declared total losses from softball-size hail. All other El Reno schools remain open, but have extensive roof and window damage.
Mid-Del Schools reported damage to 22 sites as of June 4. Damage includes water, wind and hail damage to roofs. There's also been flooding in classrooms and locker rooms that caused damage to contents, including computer equipment.
Moss Public Schools and Crutcho Public Schools both experienced flooding. Crutcho was forced to delay the start of summer school.
"I have talked personally with many of these superintendents that have damaged sites," said Superintendent Barresi. "I know their first concern is to work with their insurance companies and FEMA so they can start the repair and rebuilding process to be ready for the children as they return to school this summer and fall. I have let them know that everyone at the State Department of Education stands ready to assist them with recovery for their school families and the rebuilding of their facilities."