MIDLOTHIAN — Following a report confirming a Red Oak ISD school hit by an EF-3 tornado on Dec. 26 had some defects in it’s original construction, Midlothian ISD staff took steps to ensure proper construction at the district’s newest school.

MISD’s 93,000-square-foot Dolores McClatchey Elementary School is scheduled to open in time for the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

“Dolores W. McClatchey Elementary was designed to comply with the existing building code. To ensure that the construction of the facility adheres to that design, a design engineer was asked to visit the site and confirm the installation of the exterior wall framing was indeed installed per his design. In addition, the engineer provided a signed and stamped letter of conformance,” said Jana Pongratz, MISD public information officer.

In January, Red Oak ISD received a report from a third party contractor, Lavi and Associates, that confirmed the installation of the exterior non-load bearing walls at Donald T. Shields Elementary School were not consistent with the engineered shop drawings, according to previous a Waxahachie Daily Light article. Deviations from the shop drawings included fasteners that did not meet the sizes specified on the shop drawings and were not installed following the manufacturer’s guidelines. The report stated that these deviations combined with the wind speeds from the tornado, which were 145 to 155 mph, contributed to the wall’s failure.

Following the initial report of construction issues at Shields, Midlothian ISD board members spoke with MISD construction projects director David Boswell and Leesa G. Vardeman, principal architect for VLK Architects that designed and is overseeing construction of the school, about the safety of the design and construction at the January meeting.

Construction standards are inspected by the city where the building is located in and VLK sent out inspectors to ensure the school’s construction meets the requirements set by the city, Vardeman said. Boswell, who has a background in construction, also keeps an eye on the work, she said.

Starling Richardson Construction is the company building McClatchey Elementary School. Sheilds Elemantary School was constructed by Ratcliff Constructors in 2008-2009.


Contact Bethany Kurtz at 469-517-1450 or email bkurtz@waxahachietx.com. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BethanyKurtzMidloMirror or on Twitter @bethmidlomirror.