Fertilizer plant explosion levels several blocks of small Texas town

New School Building Dedicated in West

By Jeff Smith
|  Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014  |  Updated 7:04 PM CDT
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Nine months after the fertilizer plant blast in West, the Future Farmers of America dedicated a new building and took a step toward the future.

Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 News

Nine months after the fertilizer plant blast in West, the Future Farmers of America dedicated a new building and took a step toward the future.

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New Building Dedicated to West Students

A new school building will be dedicated Tuesday in the hard-hit community of West.

New School Building Opening in West

A new school building will be dedicated Tuesday in the hard-hit community of West, TX.
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A new school building was dedicated Tuesday in the hard-hit community of West.

The Texas town suffered massive damage following an explosion at a fertilizer plant in April of 2012.

The Texas FFA raised close to $200,000 for the new school building constructed at the site of the West Intermediate School, which was destroyed in April’s deadly blast.

FFA members around the state raised money for a new West school building through car washes, dinners, and even charity haunted houses, according to West teachers.

"I've been here for 32 years and it's tough seeing our classrooms go away. But it's heartwarming seeing the hard work and the time people have put in for us. It's certainly humbled us," Tim Sullins, a West teacher, said.

"When this happened, it changed our lives. It still is changing our lives. But it is such a great feeling to know our community can pull together and create the best of a worst situation," Holly Soukup, West Junior and FFA Member, said.

West students will use the building for woodworking, welding, engineering, and agricultural classes. The FFA says students can finally have hands-on vocational training that was unavailable to them in the portable classrooms.

"It is a clear demonstration of the power of a community," said Texas FFA Executive Director Tom Maynard. "Everyone pulled together and gave a little; the results are breathtaking."

The school district is still finalizing the electrical wiring in the building. They hope to have students taking classes there after spring break.

"I am so ready," said Soukup. "There were so many memories made at our own ag shop, I just can't wait to see what it brings at the future."

Former Ranger Scott Podsednik was also on hand in his hometown on Tuesday, as part of the Texas Rangers Caravan. He says there's a lot of pride in his hometown and he's not surprised by the city's rebound.

Podsednik was joined by former Ranger Kevin Mench and current Rangers Tanner Scheppers and Mitch Moreland for the caravan stop in West where they interacted with fans for about an hour.

NBC 5's Chris Van Horne contributed to this report.


West Fertilizer Plant Explosion
Complete coverage of a massive fertilizer plant explosion that leveled blocks of the small Texas town of West, TX. Click here for more.

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