South Central Calhoun’s athletic rivals are poised to offer help after a tornado struck the Lake City school Sunday night.
Iowa schools are acting in a spirit much like what followed the 2008 storm that destroyed Aplington-Parkersburg High School.
Mike Jepson, activities director at Twin Lakes Conference opponent Manson-Northwest Webster, said he contacted South Central Calhoun officials Monday to ask how his school can help in cleanup efforts.
He was told to stay away for safety reasons for now, since power lines are downed throughout town.
South Central Calhoun is dealing with bigger issues than sports right now, too, he said.
“Their concern was: What are they going to do about classes?” Jepson said.
LAKE CITY TORNADO:
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The storm that hit Lake City has been graded as an EF1 tornado by the National Weather Service. The twister tore off a portion of the school’s roof.
Aplington-Parkersburg received an outpouring of support after an EF5 storm hit the school on May 25, 2008. Busloads full of student-athletes were among those who arrived on the scene to help in the wake of the storm.
South Central Calhoun High School canceled classes Monday and Tuesday. The district is determining its options for students.
The school district and the Iowa Department of Education were in contact Monday, but no decisions were announced at the state level as to what the district plans to do, according to Staci Hupp Ballard, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Education.
High school classes can be held in a different building, or students may be offered a non-traditional setting like a community service project, Hupp Ballard said.
Seniors are scheduled to attend graduation ceremonies May 17. The class of 2015 had three days of classes remaining before the storm.
State regulations could allow seniors to skip their final week. Iowa allows students who have met graduation requirements to be excused for up to five days.
The next big athletic date for South Central Calhoun is Thursday, when state qualifying track meets are held. The Titans are scheduled to compete in a Class 2-A meet at Holstein.
Officials at the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and the boys’ Iowa High School Athletic Association said Monday they have not yet been in contact with the school.
Jepson said he was driving home from the west on Highway 20 Sunday night. He saw the storm, which was ahead of him.
“The sky was going around and around,” Jepson said.
That brought back an eerie feeling from 1979, when Manson was hit by an F4 tornado that killed three people.
“That was one real son of a gun of a storm,” Jepson said. “It chewed up our town.”
The twister missed the high school but destroyed the middle school downtown. It took two years for the town to rebuild all the damage, he said.
“If you were in town on that day, you’ll never forget it,” Jepson said.
TRACKING THE DAMAGE
A look at how tornadoes affected high school athletic facilities in recent years:
• 2011: Maple Valley/Anthon-Oto of Mapleton’s baseball diamond was damaged by a twister.
• 2008: An EF5 tornado destroyed Aplington-Parkersburg High School.
• 2001: Alden High School’s football scoreboard was bent during a storm.
• 1998: A suspected tornado struck Blairsburg, tearing off a portion of the Northeast Hamilton’s school roof and twisting the lights at the football field.
• 1998: Johnston High School’s outdoor athletic complex was damaged by a high-wind event. Baseball bleachers were blown more than 200 yards away and dugouts and the press box were leveled. Damage to the roof resulted in water pouring onto the gym floor.