Storm blows roof off local school, time ticking to get it fixed

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Kendall Downing

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ill. — Strong winds caused lots of damage Sunday afternoon in Franklin County, Illinois. The surprise storm blew in quickly and ripped portions of a roof right off Christopher Elementary School.

Administrators spent the day surveying what could be a costly repair, while both custodians and roofers worked on a patch-up job.

A wind gust ripped off a more than 2,000 square foot section of the roof. Then the rain that came in flooded ten different classrooms, some worse than others.

"Some rooms (had) three or four inches. One room had upwards of 16 inches of water in it," said Richard Towers, Christopher Unit Superintendent.

Towers said custodians worked all Sunday night to get the standing water out of the building.

"I was making calls to different staff members, and everybody was just rallying around trying to prevent the water from moving into the school," said Towers.

Roofers worked all day Monday on a temporary roof to protect against any future storms in the coming days, but more substantial roofing work will have to be done.

The district will file the damage on their insurance.

"That's why you buy insurance for a situation like this. As far as an event like this having additional state funds, there probably aren't any there," said Matt Donkin, Franklin-Williamson Regional Superintendent.

Donkin said the district's insurance policy should pick up the tab.

Administrators are waiting on contractors and architects to come in to assess the extent of the damage.

"We really do not fully know what kind of damage there is inside the classrooms," said Towers.

Towers said teachers have been notified they will not be allowed to enter their classrooms until the area is deemed safe to enter. He said repairs must be complete by the new school year, which starts in mid-August.

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