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After years of teaching from portable buildings, Vidor ISD is close to having new elementary school

The old Oak Forest Elementary School flooded during Tropical Storm Harvey.

VIDOR, Texas — After spending multiple years teaching from portable buildings, Vidor Independent School District officials are closer than ever to having a new elementary school.

It has taken more than four and half years, but VISD officials are patiently waiting to have students back at the Oak Forest Elementary School campus. The old Oak Forest flooded during Tropical Storm Harvey.

VISD officials are excited to see the continued progress, because the district has not had a new building in decades.

Related: Two Vidor schools being rebuilt more than three years after Tropical Storm Harvey

“What I’m excited about, is that we’re going to have a stage," Sally Andrews, director of community relations, said. “There's going to be a partition that closes between the cafeteria area and the gym, which is down there. So when we have a program, we can open this whole area up and people can come in and watch their kiddos perform.”

The 100,000 square-foot building will be the new home for kindergarten through fourth grade.

“Well this is going to be the main entrance of Oak Forest and will be where all those bright-eyed little faces come in,” Andrews said.

Those bright-eyed students have spent the last four years learning in portable buildings.

Related: Vidor ISD breaks ground on new middle school after years-long wait

"We are teaching and we're doing a great job, but obviously it's nothing like having a real school and having everyone under one roof, so we really just can't wait to open," Andrews said.

The school is primarily being paid for through Harvey Relief Funds donated by FEMA. The funds are covering 90 percent of the cost.

“That's a pretty big deal to have a brand new school almost totally paid for," Andrews said.

VISD officials were relieved to learn the new school is being built on higher ground.

“This school is a foot higher than it was, which should take care of any problems that we had before," Andrews said. "Which is very comforting for those of us who have been through this twice now." 

General contractor G&G is building both the new Oak Forest Elementary School and the new Vidor Middle School. Company officials said construction is on track, and they are happy to help with a project that has such a large impact on the Vidor community.

“It's super exciting to work in education because it's very impactful to the community that invests so much in us," Mackenzie, G&G human resources manager, said.

VISD officials are excited to have a new home for their students and thanked the community for their patience and support during the trying times.

"So our town really gets behind our school district, and we appreciate that so much, and we love doing this because this for them, their kids, and their grandkids," Andrews said.

G&G officials hope to the have school completed in time for the 2023 school year. 

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