Days after tornadoes wreaked havoc on high school athletic facilities across the South, a mysterious roof collapse has left the gym at an Indiana high school beyond repair. Amazingly, the devastating loss was deemed palatable for the simple fact that, somehow, no one was injured in the massive collapse.
According to the Evansville Courier & Press, the gymnasium roof at Jasper (Ind.) High collapsed at some point around 5:15 Monday morning. The collapse affected a majority of the facility's roof and left the Jasper athletic director to deem the entire gymnasium as unsalvageable. The collapse did so much damage that Jasper High canceled school for Monday and Tuesday.
"Our gym is gone," Jasper athletic director Denny Lewis told the Courier & Press. "My gut reaction is that it's a total loss, although that's yet to be determined. They'll be back in there [Tuesday].
"But the most fortunate thing about this is, if this happens in the early morning hours on Saturday, we could've had 400 or 500 kids in there for their prom. There wasn't one thing we lost that can't be replaced."
As Lewis alluded to, the timing of the collapse could hardly have been more ideal. Because of the early hour of the morning, there were only a couple of community walkers and a coach in the gym when the roof began collapsing. A fire alarm alerted those who were on site to flee immediately, with the roof falling down before maintenance workers had arrived to begin disassembling materials used in the school's prom on Saturday.
Incredibly, the collapse also coincides with the conclusion of any indoor sports at Jasper High, meaning that the facility won't be in dire need for the school's sports programs until next fall. Whether it can be repaired or rebuilt before then remains to be seen, but given other times when the roof could have caved in, the collapse truly came at the most forgiving time possible.
That being said, the sight of a longstanding building left in utter shambles, as you can see in much more detail in these photos from HickoryHusker.com, left all involved with the school's athletic programs shaken.
"It looked like a bomb hit the building," Jasper basketball coach John Goebel told the Courier & Press. "The basketball offices were right there and we lost almost all of our equipment. They let us in there for a few minutes and we were able to salvage some pictures and a few uniforms, but that was it.
"Then you could see the fire department, police and engineers were all pretty nervous about anybody being in there and we had to get out. The way I look at this is it gives you an appreciation of what people are going through when a tornado rips through their lives. At least this wasn't our home."