Structural Engineers to Assess Storm Damage at Smithville Elementary School

May 26, 2011
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary School Receives Gutter and Roof Damage
Central unit dislodged from SES roof and moved to the spot pictured here
Storm Damage to Smithville Elementary Roof
Another View of Storm Damage to Smithville Elementary Roof

The last day of school before summer break is one students and teachers at Smithville Elementary School may not soon forget.

Due to Thursday morning's storm and the damage it caused at school, no classes were held. While all other schools in the county held session on an abbreviated schedule according to the school calendar, Smithville Elementary School was closed.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby has announced that parents will be allowed to pick up their children's report cards at Smithville Elementary and other personal belongings on a specific day after the school building is determined safe to re-enter. In the meantime, Willoughby said structural engineers will be called upon to assess the damage to the building. "We feel like its going to be a lot more damage than what we first anticipated. The cafeteria roof, I feel will probably have to be totally replaced. It looks like it (wind) tried to pull up that part of the roof. There's actually places that you can see the sky now through the roof. It (wind) rolled the rubber roof back several feet from one end. It also took (dislodged) two heating and cooling units and turned one of them over on the roof, moved the other one, and broke some (natural gas) lines. Those are things that'll have to be fixed. It broke some windows out. Of course all of our trees behind the school and a few in front are basically destroyed," said Willoughby

" We're going to call a structural engineer to come in and do an evaluation of one part of the building to see if it is actually safe to come back into. Along the edges of the walls, we've noticed some cracks that we think are related to the storm so we'll need a structural engineer to come in and advise us on that. Other parts of the roof away from the cafeteria are damaged. There's places where there's holes in the roof. Gutters were also damaged. Electricity is still off in the main part of the building and it may not be back on until next week. We're still finding damage that we really did not anticipate. When you walk through the school, you don't really see any damage except for the cafeteria area. But when you start looking , you can spot cracks in certain parts of the building. After we get the electricity back on, I feel like we will be able to further evaluate the conditions. Right now, I would say there is very significant damage to Smithville Elementary School," said Willoughby.

" When we finish assessing the damage, get the electricity back on, and get it where we can allow people to come back in (to the school), we will send out a message through our call system to parents who might want to come in and pick up report cards. I know there are things at school that students were going to take home today (May 26th). We'll have a day for the parents to come back, hopefully real soon. We hope it will be next week but we just want to make sure the building is safe before we let people come back in," concluded Willoughby.

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