McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

August 14, 2013

Structural experts investigate reason for Parker school building problems

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — Structural engineers inspected Parker Intermediate School on Wednesday, in the wake of the sudden evacuation of the building on Tuesday afternoon.

McAlester Public Schools Superintendent Marsha Gore said it still has not been determined what caused part of the building to buckle on Tuesday.

School officials ordered the school at 1310 N. Sixth St., closed Tuesday after the floors buckled, several windows popped out, and several classrooms and hallways were flooded.

Although the building has not been given the OK for use, Gore said Wednesday the engineers gave the OK for school personnel to enter the building in small groups and retrieve school equipment and supplies.

It was not known Wednesday when — or if — the building could be used again.

“We’re working on a long-term solution,” Gore said.

In addition to everything else, the first day of classes at McAlester Public Schools began Wednesday, leaving school officials scrambling to find an alternate site for the approximately 400 MPS fifth and sixth grade students who normally attend Parker.

Following  an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon, school officials decided to have the Parker students attend classes at Eastern Oklahoma State College’s McAlester Campus for the remainder of the week.

Dr. Janet Wansick, who is the dean of Eastern’s McAlester Campus, is also the president of the McAlester School Board. She had been on the scene at Parker on Tuesday and then attended the emergency meeting afterwards to help facilitate Eastern as a temporary location for the students from Parker.

Gore said Wednesday the first day of sending the Parker students to class at Eastern went smoothly.

“It went wonderful,” Gore said, mentioning an outpouring of community support.

In addition to school personnel who were helping, volunteers showed up to assist and other brought breakfast to the teachers, Gore said.

School officials made sure breakfast and lunch was also taken to the site for the students.

Contact James Beaty at


For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone.