Staff Columnist

Pekin High School sustains damage from storm

Union photo by Doug Brenneman

The football scoreboard at Pekin High School was damaged Tuesday morning. It has been removed from the baseball outfield where it was found in pieces.
Union photo by Doug Brenneman The football scoreboard at Pekin High School was damaged Tuesday morning. It has been removed from the baseball outfield where it was found in pieces.
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PACKWOOD — Mother Nature is not to be trifled with. She can be a beast.

Evidence of her power was on display Tuesday morning at Pekin High School. Staff at the school do not believe it was a tornado but just straight-line winds that caused havoc.

During a fierce rainstorm, the football scoreboard was ripped from its postings, tore holes in the field and caused damage to the track as well as the baseball outfield fence before being deposited in numerous pieces in the outfield. There was also damage to the bleachers.

Numerous trees lost their tops and others were damaged, some severely and some not badly.

The playground was marred as well. The tractor shed lost half of its roof, one of its walls while two more were struck and had equipment damaged.

Maintenance men inside the bus barn saw the walls blowing in and out.

The ticket booth, which was new for this year, was flipped over.

Football equipment was strewn about. An equipment trailer ended up on top of a truck. The tractor shed sustained damage as part of its roof and part of three of the walls were ripped asunder. One of the green houses was demolished and blown against the school building.

Teachers were at a meeting in Ottumwa so there wasn’t many people at the school. No injuries were reported.

“It was quite a scene when I was here Tuesday morning,” athletic director and football coach Brent Blakely said. “I saw how bad the storm was when I was driving in from Richland. For 20 minutes, it was just terrible.”

The Pekin Panthers home game with Sigourney-Keota scheduled for Aug. 30 will now be played at Ottumwa’s Schafer Stadium. The junior varsity game will now be played on that Friday night as well. The JV will kickoff at 5 p.m. with varsity to follow.

Blakely said the school is looking into having a portable scoreboard for the next scheduled home game, which is against Mediapolis Friday, Sept. 13.

Getting a new permanent scoreboard could be anywhere from six to 10 weeks, Blakely said.

Insurance claims are being filed and that will add time to the process.