Tornado damage at Beech Grove High won’t delay start of school year

Beech Grove High School repairs

BEECH GROVE, Ind. (WISH) — Beech Grove High School will welcome students back for fall semester July 31, as scheduled, despite sustaining extensive tornado damage.

At least six classrooms — including the enrichment academy and new science classrooms — will not be repaired in time for the start of the school year, superintendent Dr. Paul Kaiser said.

Tornado damage at Beech Grove High won’t delay start of school year

“We’ll be moving those classes to other locations within the school,” he told News 8. “It will be a little bit different but we have spaces like our auditorium and our auxiliary gym.

New images of interior damage provided by administrators show missing ceiling tiles in classrooms, debris and water on the floor, broken light fixtures and exposed beams.

Powerful winds also ripped apart the school’s athletic fields, softball batting cage, football scoreboard and baseball dugout.

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Additional storms could cause further damage to the main school building, Kaiser said Wednesday.

“If we get another strong wind, the walls within that building could fall over,” he told News 8. “We can’t even get on that roof to fix it today because of the structural damage.”

Walking through the wind-battered, water-soaked halls to survey the damage was “emotional,” Kaiser said, adding he was grateful the tornado “skipped” the district’s central office.

“If it were to have a direct hit on the high school, it would have just been devastating,” he said. “My office is 30 yards away and not even a shingle’s off that. The flag pole was taken to the ground. The office wasn’t touched.”

Insurance will cover the cost of repairs, according to administrators. Kaiser urged community members raising money for the high school to aid storm-displaced families instead.

“While we sincerely appreciate our Beech Grove community and your willingness to assist our high school, we are very thankful that our insurance company is covering the cost of our demolition and repair/replacement of the building,” the school said Wednesday in a Facebook post. “We are grateful, blessed and thankful for all of you!”

The district will accept assistance to replace teacher supplies. Some supplies destroyed by the tornado were purchased by teachers with their own money, Kaiser said.

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