DENTON, Texas - A Denton ISD middle school was hit hard by the winter storm and won’t reopen this year.
A fire suppression system at Harpool Middle School in Lantana burst because of the freezing temperatures. It flooded the building and damaged the entire first floor.
"It’s the entire bottom floor we lost with about 2 feet of water at different times in different places. So it’s very substantial," said Denton ISD Superintendent Dr. Jamie Wilson.
Wilson said the school district offered to take its buildings off the grid last week when electricity was in high demand so that families could have power. But that led to frozen pipes and water damage at several schools.
"We have freeze points that we set for our building but when it becomes an important component for our community's safety, we evaluate those and reduce those so that people have heat and electricity in their homes. We really don't have much choice because that's for the greater good," he said. "When you look back at it, I don't think we would do anything differently other than make sure that we take care of our families and their individual homes."
Unfortunately, the damage at Harpool was so severe that the building must remain closed for the rest of the school year.
Harpool has about 900 students. They resumed learning virtually on Thursday and will begin attending alternate schools after spring break.
The sixth-grade students and staff will have in-person classes at Adkins Elementary. The seventh graders will report to E.P. Rayzor Elementary and all eighth graders will go to the Guyer High School Freshman Center.
"It’s quite an undertaking and it takes a lot of effort from a lot of people to make it all happen. But we think it’s important that we get our kids back to in-person learning as quickly as we possibly can and with as least disruption to a huge disruption as possible for our families and for our teachers," the superintendent said. "We'll get through it."
The school is still working out the details for how to handle electives such as athletics and fine arts.
Denton ISD will provide bus transportation to the new campuses.