Webbers Falls First Day

Rachel Brown fills out school registration paperwork while Serenity and James Farrington, 6 and 11, respectively, all of Webbers Falls, wait to begin the first day of school. The Webbers Falls Public Schools opened on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. after a three-week delay due to flooding. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World

A natural gas giant headquartered in Tulsa made a six-figure donation to Webbers Falls schools as the district continue rebuilding during the school year.

ONEOK Inc. donated $120,000 to Webbers Falls Public Schools in early September.

“We, like everybody else, were watching reports of devastation of the Webbers Falls community, and that unfortunately included the school,” ONEOK Inc. spokesman Brad Borror said.

The Fortune 500 company pledged $1 million in May for donations to those affected by the flood. Half of that was donated to the Red Cross.

Since the floodwaters receded in late May, the Webbers Falls campus has transitioned from a mess of muck to a gutted shell to interiors that appear distinctly institutional.

The gymnasium floor and every wooden door in the school were torn up and thrown out. Students volunteered to scrape away muck from walls. Heating and air units had to be replaced, and science rooms and kitchens had to be gutted of almost all their equipment.

Students were able to return to classes, albeit a little later than usual, on Sept. 9.

The district lost a considerable amount of technology due to the flooding. District officials told ONEOK that they estimated the cost of replacing damaged technology around $120,000.

Webbers Falls, the town, has been the focus of sustained attention. It suffered substantial damage in the floods. Of Webbers Falls’ approximately 200 houses, 160 were affected by floodwaters. It also affected water and power service to the town, the town’s police station, Webbers Falls Baptist Church, several businesses and the schools.

During the height of the flood, the town’s residents were warned of two loose barges floating down the Arkansas River toward the lock and dam. The barges struck the lock and dam but did not cause significant damage. Recovery of them began in late August.


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Harrison Grimwood



Twitter: @grimwood_hmg

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