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Eisenhower Middle School faces repair dilemma

Published: Jan. 29, 2015 at 10:00 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 5, 2015 at 3:32 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla._From cracks in the floor to holes in the ceiling, it appears Eisenhower Middle School is literally falling apart.

We were able to see the inside of the building to see just how bad the problems are for ourselves. There are cracks in the walls up to two inches wide, windows that are starting to separate from the building, uneven hallways and sloping floors in about a dozen classrooms. All evidence of a shifting foundation.

In some places, the problem is so bad that you can actually slide a ruler underneath the crack into the next classroom. The school's principal says the problems have really started to worsen over the past three to four years which has caused school officials to take notice.

"We notified LPS maintenance, they came out and looked at that time they involved Dr. Deighan, Dr. Polk and some Shoemaker personnel. The board members came out and looked and decided it was time to take a look and make sure the building was safe," said Eisenhower Middle School Principal Beverly Mattingly.

An engineer, who was also called in, deemed the building structurally safe this past fall. Eisenhower is home to about 900 students. Built in 1967, former principal Rick Owens says he believes the life expectancy of the school was about 50 years. Since he left in 2011, Owens says a lot has changed.

"The cracks are a little bigger and the floors are a little more slopped than what they were three or four years ago," said Owens.

Owens says piers were placed under the school in 1990 to repair the foundation, but the recent drought may be blame for its decline. As school officials continue to discuss possible solutions, Mattingly says students and teachers would like to stay put.

"They would rather stay in a building that needs repair and deal with the issues and ugliness of the repairs that need to happen, but Ike is their family and they do not want to leave," said Mattingly.

Lawton Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tom Deighan addressed a crowd of parents and faculty members Thursday to talk about the condition of the school and possible solutions.