Damage assessed 100 days after tornado

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – A cold February wind blows outside of Southwestern Middle School where just 100 days ago, chaos ensued.

“One of my first thoughts was just being very thankful that it happened on a Sunday,” said Tippecanoe School Corporation Superintendent Scott Hanback.

In the past three months, Hanback has had time to reflect on what happened and perhaps more importantly, review safety measures within the schools.

“It definitely affirmed some things that we already had in place regarding where students would be located if a storm was announced and an alert was made,” said Hanback.

Hanback said they’ve also been able to provide the surveillance video to local emergency management agencies for future improvement.

For the last 100 days, Hanback said crews have been working feverishly, trying to restore the two schools as quickly as possible.

“Teams of experts are going in there and testing systems, determining what repairs are going to need to be done,” said Hanback. “Are there certain systems that will need to be scrapped and rebuilt, or are there some systems that are recoverable.”

Hanback said Mintonye students can expect to return to the building this August, but Southwestern students may not be so lucky.

“Southwestern really took the brunt of this storm,” said Hanback. “So, the complexity of their project and the scope of their project is much different and more complicated.”

Hanback said with below average temperatures and above average snow fall, repairs have been delayed quite a bit. He said they’re hoping to get back on track as soon as weather permits.

Hanback said a meeting will be held for parents this spring, updating them on the progress of the repairs. He wants to thank the community for their generosity and support during this tough transitional period.

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