T.A. Brown Elementary floors deemed unsafe for kids, closed indefinitely

T.A. Brown Elementary School closed down

UPDATE: Austin ISD announced Monday that pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students will be relocated to Reilly Elementary School. First through fifth-grade students will be relocated to Allan Elementary School.

The district said students will resume classes at their respective campuses on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

EARLIER STORY: Austin ISD has closed T.A. Brown Elementary indefinitely after it was discovered the floors were too unsafe for kids.

The district said the problems were found during an assessment by an engineer as part of the Facility Master Plan process. The structural issues were found in the crawl space beneath the entryway and one wing, and crews are investigating the rest of the building. Austin ISD said Thursday they are working to determine long-term alternatives for students.

Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz detailed the problems in a letter to school board members.

“The engineer reported that the precast channels have deteriorated and likely no longer have sufficient structural capacity to support code prescribed loads,” Cruz said. “Given the large number of damaged channels, there is a concern that a portion of the floor framing could fail and possibly collapse.”

During a press conference Friday, Cruz said that first through fifth graders will be transferred to the Allan Facility and students in pre-k and kindergarten will be transferred to Reilly Elementary School until further notice. 

"We want to make sure that learning is consistent," Principal Veronica Sharp. She said that school officials are trying to make sure that students keep the same teachers and programming.

A meeting will be held on Saturday with parents, teachers and staff updating them on details and the plan moving forward. The meeting will not be open to press or the public.

Engineers at the press conference Friday said that they are not recommending repairs to the damage at the school because of the cost and location of the damage. Because the damage is in a crawl space, it would be complex and dangerous for workers to fix. 

Cruz said that they are having to consider the possibility that the facility may not reopen and it may have to be replaced, but he is not sure yet what will happen. 

The school’s website states the original building was completed in September 1957. It is one of 60 schools in Austin ISD with crawl spaces. 

360 students attend T.A. Brown Elementary School.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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