OVERTON, Texas (KETK) – Some East Texas students are ready to get back into the classroom after last year’s winter storm damage caused the Northeast Texas Career and Technology Center to flood. This caused serious damage to the floor and walls and after a year of delays and online learning Overton ISD is set to reopen the building next week.  

“They’re going to get to see all the other students that have been in their Zoom classes, and they chat with them and text them. Now they are going to get to see them,” says Chad Richardson, CTE coordinator. 

The damage from the winter storm forced the school to rebuild walls, floors and repaint.  

“We were out of school at the time because no one could get to campus. This campus was one that didn’t get checked, and the water ran basically for two to three days,” said Stephen DuBose, Superintendent of Overton ISD.  

Since 2019, the school has offered advanced classes to students from several districts like Overton, Arp and West Rusk. They are also able to offer courses in HVAC, culinary arts and other trade jobs. This center helps children in rural East Texas better prepare for college.  

“Our students can get college education almost up to their associate degree for free, so that’s that’s a big deal in a small community. If we can get them to about 40 or 45 hours, they’ll more likely finish at that point,” said DuBose. 

School officials hope to reopen by next Monday, Jan. 10. Once this happens, the center is looking into hosting community events like summer programs and community club meetings. 

“You know we’re not just giving them a skill they can’t use. They can go find employment immediately with that,” said DuBose. 

After classes resume, the next phase is to add on to the center. A building for welding and a classroom set up like a hospital room are among some of those additions. 

“Really it’s a need based thing. The community says they need things between welders, plumbers and electricians,” said Richardson.  

In the future, they hope they can start offering evening classes to those in the community.