BERRYVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Berryville Middle School sustained damage to one of its buildings in Wednesday morning’s storms. The building was used for storage, so students and teachers don’t go into the building.
The roof was ripped off parts of the building, electrical wiring was damaged and some water leaked into the building. The principal, John McClellan, said the school is lucky that was the only building damaged.
“I’m super thankful that this is all that happened. You look at all the other buildings around here. It could have affected a lot of other buildings,” McClellan said.
The building was once an old cafeteria. JoAnn Griesenauer, a previous student and federal disaster paramedic, remembers doing tornado drills in it.
“That’s where we would have to sit leaning against the wall and that was supposed to have been our safe area,” Griesenauer said.
Griesenauer said communication is critical for residents of Berryville and the surrounding area. She was on social media communicating with others while the storm was happening. Griesenauer said staying connected is especially important in rural areas where natural disaster response may not be as developed as in more populated areas.
Mike McKelvey is the director of Carroll County Emergency Management. He said if the storm had hit just a few hours later, Berryville Middle School would have been full of students and faculty. He said it could have been bad, especially if debris had fallen off the roof and hit a student or teacher.
According to McKelvey, the National Weather Service was in the area assessing the storm damage Wednesday.
“Within a few days they should have their assessment done and give us confirmation on whether this was a tornado,” McKelvey said.