RED OAK, TEXAS - Parents and students attending Shields Elementary get their first look at the school's new temporary campus in Red Oak before the first day of school Tuesday.
The old campus in Glenn Heights was destroyed when an EF-1 tornado ripped through Ellis County the day after Christmas. Red Oak ISD is relocating Shields Elementary students to a vacant Junior High School building in Red Oak. It will now be called Shields Elementary on Live Oak.
Tim Marshal, an engineer and meteorologist who served as a consultant for the National Weather Service says the Glenn Heights school, completed in 2009 by Ratcliff Constructors, should have been able to withstand the winds of an EF-1.
Marshal says the walls were not properly attached to the foundation, the roof or each other, "That's my first reaction, when you get there and see the walls have fallen like a house of cards, I'm aghast by it."
Marshal is concerned that another tornado could hit a school with similar construction, leaving students inside unprotected.
In a written statement Ratcliff Constructors says they "strongly disagree with these allegations" and the school "was constructed in accordance with the plans and specifications…provided to us."
Red Oak ISD is asking the architectural firm that designed the school to review the construction quality.
Feedback from students has been positive.
Nadia McCoy says "I mean I'm excited. My kids are safe. This happened when there were no kids so I'm blessed."