WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — For the second time this year, a Wichita Falls Independent School District school had to cancel classes due to a water line break, and district leaders said they believe aging facilities and infrastructure are to blame.
After a water line burst Thursday at Fowler Elementary School, school leaders had to cancel class Friday to make repairs.
“It’s a big hit for everybody,” Fowler Principal Alexandra Martin said. “It makes it difficult for childcare for our families and for our teachers as well.”
Martin said despite the disruption, teachers are working to make sure students are still on track.
“My gosh, teachers are miracle workers, they figure it out,” Martin said. “They just change a little bit of what they were going to do or maybe condense the curriculum or mold it together so they are really amazing.”
It’s not a problem limited to Fowler.
At the start of the school year classes at Franklin Elementary started a week late because a water line break flooded the basement where the school’s electric circuits and panels are located.
It ended up costing the school district $200,000.
“Newer facilities, when you have that, you put in all brand new, you’re running the latest technology as far as electricity goes,” Wichita Falls Independent School District Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said. “You are putting in new pipes and so maintenance in less, maintenance is less at the CEC for us than a building such as this.”
Whether fewer maintenance issues come with newer facilities will depend on district voters in November.
A $290 million bond package includes the creation of two new buildings, but it also launches the district’s 30-year strategic plan.
“It starts the ball rolling, if we were to have two new high schools in 2024, we would then be moving Mcneil Intermediate School into Rider and that would become a new middle school,” Kuhrt said. “Mcneil would then become an elementary school, students from Jefferson, Fowler and West Foundation would then go into McNeil.”
Kuhrt said he believes the bond would a big step in reducing some of the maintenance and repair issues the district faces.
Right now, WFISD officials are also having to deal with a leaky, 26-year-old roof at Crockett Elementary. Kuhrt said contractors will soon begin work there.
As for Fowler, classes are expected to resume Monday morning