NORMAN — At least 56 school sites were damaged by the severe storms and tornados that ripped through the state from May 19 to 31, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi announced today. Three sites were completely destroyed in Moore. In addition, the El Reno campus of the Canadian Valley Technology Center was destroyed.
“May was a very difficult month for school district families across Oklahoma, and our thoughts and prayers are still with them as they work through the recovery stage. With 57 buildings sustaining various degrees of damage from minor to total destruction, the cost to rebuild or repair will total in the millions of dollars. At the State Department of Education we are doing what we can to help school districts through this difficult time,” Barresi said.
The State Department of Education staff is working with school districts to help in areas such as waiving reporting deadlines and assisting with counseling services. Districts that have damage as a result of the storms and tornados include Moore, El Reno, Mid-Del, Crutcho and Moss.
During the May 20 tornado, Moore Public Schools completely lost Briarwood and Plaza Towers elementary schools and a technology center with administrative offices and equipment. Highland East Junior High School and the administration building both sustained major damage, with the administration building rendered uninhabitable. Administrative staff is currently working out of the Moore High School Media Center.
During the May 31 storms, an additional 20 sites in Moore Public Schools experienced roof damage, major leaks and damage to AC units.
Also damaged the evening of May 31 were all seven sites in El Reno Public Schools. Damage there was from wind, water and hail. Lincoln, Hillcrest and Rose Witcher elementary schools are temporarily closed because they all have roofs that have been declared total losses from softball-size hail. All other sites in El Reno remain open but have extensive roof and window damage. The roof and gym floor in the recently renovated Y gym annex used for volleyball, cheer and other activities have also been declared total losses.
Mid-Del Schools reports damage to 22 sties as of June 4. Damage includes water, wind and hail damage to roofs and flooding in classrooms and locker rooms that have caused damage to contents that include computer equipment.
Moss Public Schools and Crutcho Public Schools both experienced flooding. Crutcho was forced to delay the start of summer school.
“I have talked personally with many of these superintendents that have damaged sites,” Barresi said. “I know their first concern is to work with their insurance companies and FEMA so they can start the repair and rebuilding process to be ready for the children as they return to school this summer and fall. I have let them know that everyone at the State Department of Education stands ready to assist them with recovery for their school families and the rebuilding of their facilities.”