LHISD reaches out to West in aftermath of explosion

In response to the tragic explosion at a West fertilizer plant last Wednesday, the Liberty Hill Independent School District delivered 25 reams of white copy paper to West ISD on Tuesday.

LHISD Assistant Superintendent Robert Parks said the district is asking the community to contribute unopened reams of copy paper through this week. So far, the response has been very positive, he said, adding that in the first two days, campuses collected as much as 25 cases.

With three of its four campuses destroyed or damaged in the explosion, WISD is currently operating on two campuses, including utilization of a building in the nearby Connally ISD in Waco to hold classes for grades 7 through 12.

West is located just north of Waco on IH 35.

Liberty Hill Superintendent Rob Hart, who served as superintendent at West ISD before coming to Liberty Hill six years ago, said he has remained in contact with West school officials throughout the week.

Hart said West ISD requested assistance with copy paper and he announced a collection drive that began Monday.

“We still have many good friends there (in West) that are like family to us,” Hart said. “Many have lost their homes. Several of our friends are staying in Waco and have not seen their homes yet, but are not hearing good news about them. I knew most of the confirmed dead, one was a school board member when I was there.”

Parks said he anticipates the district will take another load of paper later this week.

“I think there will be more people donate as the week progresses,” he said Tuesday.

Texas Education Commissioner Michael L. Williams visited West ISD Wednesday where he met with school district officials and students to assess the district’s needs for the remainder of the school year.

“The people of West have been through a tremendous amount over the past week, but school officials here knew the importance that restarting classes would have for the children in this community,” Williams said. “The commitment to every child in West from teachers, administrators and staff is very evident.”

Williams made note of the overwhelming support provided to West ISD from school districts across the area and state, as well as Education Service Center Region 12.