ELLIS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – There is an organized community effort underway in the Ellis County city of Glenn Heights. Dozens of students, teachers, and staff at Donald T. Shields Elementary joined volunteers from the city to start cleaning up storm damage.
If you’re looking at the view from the street you might not think Shields Elementary received much damage this past weekend. But go around to the back of the building and the devastation is clear.
While portions of classrooms can be seen, the view is right into the building because there are no walls. On the roof, huge HVAC units are scattered about and random debris is littered with it.
The intensity of the storm shattered windows and sucked the tables right out of the Shields Elementary cafeteria.
Administrators with the Red Oak Independent School District say the tornado came straight through the school and destroyed just about everything.
While it will take some time to complete repairs and rebuild sections of the school, district employees, students, parents and volunteers spent Monday taking desks, books and anything they could salvage from the school.
The functioning and undamaged items were moved to the former Red Oak Intermediate School. As it stands the school is empty. District officials had plans to use the building in a few years, but it has now become the *new Shields Elementary.
In addition to moving furniture and equipment, volunteers are painting and decorating the school. Everyone at the location said they came to work and make sure the once middle school would look like an elementary school for the 500 kids who will soon attend classes there.
Red oak Superintendent J. Scott Niven was among those rolling up their sleeves to help Monday. He said he was touched by the turnout. “People say there’s no community, but look in Red Oak there’s community. People are ready to help get this school back online for our kids and get our community back in order. And I appreciate it more than they’ll ever know.”
Once volunteers are done, teachers will move into the temporary building on Monday. The students and staff are expected to be at the location for at least a semester.
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