WEST, Texas – The City of West has been picking up the pieces since the explosion of a fertilizer plant in 2013, and this process is almost complete.
But one more project is sitting at the end of their road to recovery.
“It was a Wednesday, April the 13th, 2017. It was a normal day up until 6:30 or 7 o’ clock,” recalls Mayor Tommy Muska.
Muska says this is when the blast from a fertilizer plant explosion devastated the small town and killed 15 people, including volunteer first responders, and injuring about 200 others. He compared it to a nuclear bomb detonation.
After six years of taking on task after task, the city has almost fully recovered physically.
“We worked with Frank Patterson out of Waco, Emergency Management out of McLennan County, and just solved one problem and went to the next. It’s like, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” Muska remembers.
The middle school and high school in West had serious damage and the district was able to open new schools.
Now that a new facility is in the works for West’s youngest learners, district leaders and parents are sharing their excitement.
“We’ve had such a long journey to recover from the explosion six years ago, and this is kind of the final step in making sure all of our learners have the opportunity to have a current facility that really meets the needs of today,” says Amanda Adams, a West Independent School District administrator.
“I’m glad that they are now building a new elementary school for our children. My son has one more year, but it’s for the future,” says Jaime Lewis, a parent of a student in West ISD.
The mayor says he expects the citizens’ decision to pass the bond issue to have a positive educational and economic impact on the City of West.
“I think whatever’s good for the school is good for the city. Obviously, this new elementary school is going to hopefully bring in families with children. It’s a great school district, so the city’s going to benefit from new roofs as far as our tax base, as well as the school,” Muska says.