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'Several students' on staircase when it collapsed at Corpus Christi elementary school, officials say

The lower half of the fourth grade exterior stairwell collapsed. All parents of the students were contacted immediately, according to school officials.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Several students and a staff member were not injured when a staircase they were on collapsed at an elementary school.

Tuesday morning, students and staff at Menger Elementary were evacuating the building due to a fire alarm when an exterior staircase collapsed with one staff member and several students on the structure, school officials said.  

According to a letter sent home to parents and obtained by 3News, it was the lower half of the fourth grade exterior stairwell that collapsed. All parents of the students impacted were contacted immediately, and the stairwell is being repaired. 

The indoor stairwell is available for use, and according to school officials, the stairwell has been inspected for safe use. 

"We did not have any injuries, and we did call EMS just to be on the safe side," Superintendent Dr. Roland Hernandez said, "but no one was transported, so everyone is safe." 

The superintendent acknowledged that students were on the staircase when it collapsed.

"We did have a few students and the teacher as well who fell with the lower level of the staircase," Hernandez said. 

School officials were glad that no one was injured and were pleased with the quick response time from EMS.

"We are grateful for the prompt care our local first responders provided to those in need," a letter home to parents said.

Menger Elementary is one of the district's older schools.  A celebration was held in 2019 to mark the campus' 90th birthday.

3News asked Hernandez about the integrity of the aging structure.

"Immediately after we found this out, we had some engineers come to the campus to give a quick assessment of what they saw both in the immediate short term as well as what we are doing longer term," Hernandez said.

He said the stairwells to the wing are exposed more to the outside elements, meaning the affected stairwell could have been compromised due to moisture overtime.

"That is something we take very seriously, not something that is easily identifiable that could have even happen and we're going to do everything we can to get it addressed as soon as possible," Hernandez said.

The superintendent added the elementary school was part of the latest school bond package that was approved by voters in 2020 and is slated to receive renovations.

During a CCISD school board meeting this past September, trustees received an update on the renovations set to happen at the elementary school.

The work will include a facelift to the inside of the school as well as new concrete walkways, drives, and parking. Storm drainage was another update set to happen after flooding was identified as an issue in the exterior courtyard area.

The construction is set to begin in May of 2022 with a completion date of September 2023.

"This is a perfect example of why we have to continue to stay up on our toes regarding facilities and because we have so many facilities across the district and we are fortunate to address many of these campuses by consolidating older schools to the new ones, and there are still a few more out there we need to address, this is a good example," Hernandez said.

Hernandez said a complete assessment will be done not just of the wing but of the entire school.

The school day continued as planned Tuesday and those students who attend classes in that wing have been moved to another part of the campus 

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