Ice storm damage forces closure, evacuation of Ector ISD

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ECTOR, TX -- Students and employees at Ector ISD were evacuated Tuesday morning, after officials found structural damage in two of the buildings as a result of built-up ice.

Superintendent Gary Bohannon said the weight of the ice twisted two of the main beans in the gym. It also caused the roof of the junior high school to cave inward.

Students discovered the damage just before school started, during an early morning athletics class, Bohannon said. A basketball goal attached to the beam was tilting outward, he said.

Students and faculty were immediately moved to the cafeteria, while they informed parents they were closing school.

School officials are working with their insurance company to asses the damaged buildings. They're also planning to bring in an engineer to inspect the safety of the remaining buildings on campus, Bohannon said.

"The main concern right now is to check the integrity of the other three buildings, so that we can continue to have school and then work around the situations with the two damaged buildings," he said.

Bohannon said no one was hurt, but they're taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the students.

"We just want to get the rest of the facilities checked out to make sure there's some damage that we can't see before we have the kids housed back in those buildings," he said.

But officials said the damage to the gym is heartbreaking.

Athletic Director Terry Johnson said they just finished renovating the floor and bleachers about a week ago.

"We were pretty excited to get back in there, and it looks like we may be out there a little more longer," he said.

Johnson is already working with other schools in the area to find places to play their home basketball games until they get back in their gym.

"We're gonna have Friday night's game at Bells, and after that we're really undecided because we're gonna wait and see what decision is made on the structure itself," he said.

Classes are already cancelled Wednesday for a planned employee work day, Bohannon said. They plan to assess the situation and make a decision before Thursday on how and when to re-open the school, based on the safety of the remaining buildings.

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