WEST (CBSDFW.COM) – Taking a wrecking ball to a piece of history. More heartache may lie ahead in the town of West. Wednesday the school district voted to demolish the old high school. Officials said the building was too badly damaged by the fertilizer plant explosion on April 17, 2013.
Despite the decision, on group is fighting back.
The original West high school was built in 1923, but many say the building has become symbol of the community’s endurance.
“When my dad played football in 1932, they were calling the plays in Czech on the line of scrimmage,” Joe Mashek said jokingly referring to the number of Czech immigrants that settled in the town.
West High School has witnessed nearly a century of history in its halls and last year withstood the fertilizer explosion that leveled so many other buildings.
Of the building Mashek said, “It’s a survivor and it deserves a lot more respect than they’re showing.”
Last month the school board voted, behind closed doors, to demolish the building, rather than pay an estimated $3 or $4 million to rebuild it.
West ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford said, “It’s a pretty steep figure and so I think the board and the administration made an astute economical decision, but that sometimes doesn’t play out with your heart.”
Residents upset by the decision told the school board Wednesday night that they plan to fight back. “We will do everything possible to overturn your decision.”
A coalition formed to save the building has started a petition. The group is not only threatening a lawsuit but publicly questioned the district’s claim of how much it would cost to restore the building.
“In our opinion $4 million is ridiculous.”
The district has already moved forward with plans for a new $44 million middle and high school campus — paid for in part by federal funds.
Superintendent Crawford said the cost of fixing the old school would have to come from the districts own pockets and it’s unclear what the old building would be used for.
For now the protests seem to have hit their mark. Crawford said the district is now postponing its demolition plans and seeking alternatives.
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