WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Jacksboro community is still picking up the pieces following the EF-3 tornado that rampaged the area, destroying many homes and damaging two schools.

If damage to their school is the only thing keeping students away from the classroom, Jacksboro Independent School District’s Superintendent Brad Burnett said students have a few more days left before returning.

“Once we have utilities restored, electricity, water and gas, we’ll be able to resume classes, and I’m hoping that will happen as early as Monday of next week,” Burnett said. “Our gymnasiums here at the high school and the elementary are total losses, they received the most substantial damage.”

That’s just at the high school and middle school campuses.

Burnett said they will have to have elementary classes remotely at local churches.

To say the elementary school damage is significant would be an understatement.

“The elementary sustained some substantial roof damage and also water damage due to the fire suppression system being compromised and flooded our fourth and fifth-grade classrooms,” Burnett said. “Our restoration crew is on-site, and they’re cleaning up debris first, then they’ll start addressing the water damage.”

Burnett hopes to bring some classes back to the elementary campus within three weeks to a month.

Part of the architectural plan was to design the storm shelters within the schools’ hallways, so in a disaster such as this, the students could leave their classrooms and be immediately safe and secure.

This is something Glenda Ramsey, owner of Harper Perkins Architects said they have been doing with many schools.

“Both of these were built before it was a code issue that it had to be or needed to be installed – we designed and developed a method by which where the doors are open to the sides not out straight to the corridors, and then all the corridors used with a concrete lid basically on the corridor itself, so that they don’t have to go very far,” Ramsey said. “The walls are concrete reinforced filled and then the lid; you don’t see it, you see a normal ceiling, but above the ceiling and below the roof structure is a concrete deck that is specially designed and connected to the walls.”

Burnett said more than 300 people – parents, students and teachers – were in that storm shelter.

The shelter saved many lives and is still standing strong.

Burnett said they have had structural engineers come in and inspect the buildings and analyzed the roof structures and walls.

They will put up temporary walls to prevent students from getting access to the gym where it’s unsafe before students return to the classroom.