State Fair of Texas officials were on hand January 14 for a building dedication ceremony of the new West ISD Agricultural Science Facility in West, Texas. Following last spring’s fertilizer plant explosion that demolished most of the district’s educational facilities, the State Fair partnered with other organizations from around the state of Texas to support fundraising efforts spearheaded by the Texas FFA Association.
In the aftermath of the explosion, which leveled the city’s intermediate school, West agricultural students eventually resumed studies in portable buildings. The Texas FFA rallied to secure funding and in-kind donations so that hands-on instruction could continue in a permanent structure. The State Fair of Texas joined livestock shows in Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, as well as current FFA members, alumni and the community at large to establish a lasting agriculture education facility.
Dr. Marty Crawford, superintendent of West ISD, released a statement reading, “West ISD has been so fortunate to have many friends assist in our recovery during our rise from the challenge of the April 17, 2013 explosion that cost our community fifteen lives, nearly 200 homes, and three schools, including our agriculture education facility.”
Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples reached out to Kevin Maxwell, a construction company owner, who found a sympathetic audience with Rigid-Global, a Houston-based building manufacturer who provided a heavily discounted 60 x 100 steel building to the cause.
The combination of cash and in-kind donations totaled about $200,000. Now there is a brand new building standing where the smoldering wreckage of the town’s intermediate school once stood.
The State Fair of Texas is a private, non-profit corporation that receives no funding from federal, state or local government. The organization contributes significant dollars to renovation, improvements and preservation of city-owned Fair Park; underwriting for museum programs and community events; college scholarships for inner city youth and students pursuing agricultural careers.