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Beech Grove High School storm repairs expected to total millions of dollars

Workers at Beech Grove High School are busy cleaning up storm damage and making repairs to prevent additional damage.

BEECH GROVE, Ind. (WTHR) - There is new information about just how much damage a tornado caused Saturday when it tore into Beech Grove High School.

Security camera video released by the Marion County school district shows the torrential rain, incredible wind and debris flying everywhere.

Five days later, workers are all over the high school. They are cleaning up the damage and making repairs to prevent additional damage.

"It is worse than we expected Saturday night," said school superintendent Dr. Paul Kaiser. "Looking at the video, we are lucky it is not worse than this."

When the tornado slammed into the school, its 100 mph winds damaged much of the roof and poured water into 25 classrooms.

One section of the roof was ripped off and blown away. The structural steel and exterior support wall are damaged. Contractors haven't determined how much of the wall will have to be torn down and replaced, but damages are expected to be in the millions of dollars.

Inside, fans are everywhere. Temporary plastic ducts suspended from the ceiling lead to giant dehumidifiers outside. As big as a small truck, they pump warm, dry air back inside. Contractors call it "baking the building."

Kaiser said contractors should have most of the waterlogged classrooms dried out, cleaned up and repaired in three weeks, well before school starts six weeks from now. As for six classrooms in a badly-damaged part of the building, repairing structural damage to the roof and an exterior wall will probably take months.

Until then, students will be shuffled to other areas of the school.

"We have virtual learning, so we can put kids anywhere," Kaiser said. "We can use the auditorium. We can use gym space"

The superintendent promised repairs would not delay the start of school.