By Adam Strunk
The severe thunderstorm Friday that knocked out power and downed massive trees in Newton also did significant damage to USD-373 facilities.
Straightline winds blew off part of a roof on the district maintenance facility/bus barn. The opening then let in the torrential rains that fell most of the night.
“A bunch of stuff got wet,” USD-373 Director of Communications Samantha Anderson said. “It’s going to be a lot of work. There’s going to be stuff thrown out.”
Pieces of the roof could be seen spread throughout the location near First and Meridian on Saturday morning. Staff surveyed the damage while Wray Roofing busily got to work fixing the damage.
Anderson said the district was working to assess the total damage but didn’t have numbers yet. She said the storm damaged the area serving as the maintenance office, and maintenance staff usually gets such information together following such an event. Now they’re tasked with doing so with their facility damaged.
“Thanks to our maintenance team for working so hard,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the district was working with insurers to submit claims on its damage.
“We have to get inspections first,” she said, adding that there was also some water that entered the district office basement.
The storm also knocked off a sizable section of brick fascia on Lindley Hall at Santa Fe Middle School. The facia had the building’s name attached to it. The building name simply read Ha-l on Saturday morning.
The event presented an oddly political piece of storm damage, as the name of the middle school gymnasium, after basketball coach and principal Frank Lindley, has been a source of discussion in the community for some time.
Some Newton residents, including people of color excluded from Lindley team’s or their family members, have called for the name’s removal, citing interviews and experiences of Lindley supporting segregation on his teams or in the school after other coaches and teams had integrated.
Others in the community have responded strongly against the idea, arguing that the name honors Lindley’s winning legacy and he was a product of the times. He coached from 1914 to 1945 and served as a principal from 1923 until 1951.
In the past, the USD-373 Board of Education has declined to remove the name. Instead, it put together a task force to create an exhibit at the location to tell the stories of people of color excluded by the school district from playing on its sports teams.
The district has an update on the task force’s progress scheduled for its meeting Monday night.