Storm severely damages Jackson County High School - WKRN News 2

Storm severely damages Jackson County High School

Posted: Updated: Feb 21, 2014 12:10 PM CST
GAINESBORO, Tenn. -

In a gym filled with basketball championship banners, Mother Nature made a slam dunk Thursday night at Jackson County High School in Gainesboro, north of Cookeville.

Straight line winds blew through the Home of the Blue Devils around 10 p.m., leaving behind debris and destruction that was visible even in the dark.

"I had no way to imagine it. When I saw, as I approached the school, it was just shocking," said Principal Chuck Breidert. "[It's] just really disturbing to see your building destroyed to this extent."

When the sun came up Friday, faculty and staff got a better look at the damage.

The roof proved no match for the storm, as the wind peeled back metal and scattered Styrofoam insulation.

"It's about a year old. We put this on about a year ago," Director of Schools Joe Barlow said of the rooftop.

Heating units, replaced less than six years ago, were tossed like basketballs.

"We have three big heating and cooling units that they were just pulled out of ceiling," Barlow said.

When the units' intake system plummeted to the gym floor, rainwater dribbled on the four-year-old hardwood.

The weather system that caused the damage came less than one day before tip-off of the TSSAA Division I Region 4 Class A Girls Basketball Championship game.

"We had planned a girls basketball game, first round of the regional. Our girls are defending state champions, and they deserve the opportunity to play at home," Breidert said.

Instead, the Lady Blue Devils will play close to home at the middle school located on the same property.

The team, and their fans, may be uprooted for now, but they expect to rebound.

"We have fine folks [and] fine parents, and we'll pull through this and move forward," said Barlow.

School administrators will work with insurance representatives to access the damage through the weekend. They hope to welcome students back on Monday.

The Jackson County Lady Blue Devils will take on the Hawks of Merrol Hyde Magnet School in Hendersonville Friday at 7 p.m. at Jackson County Middle School located at 170 Blue Devil Lane in Gainesboro.

Jackson County High School was closed Friday.

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