6,700 Childress residents are cleaning up the aftermath of Tuesday night's tornado. It touched down just after nine. Wednesday morning we found destroyed buildings and debris covering streets and parking lots. The cemetery and a city park suffered damage, but the most damage possibly affecting the most people is at Childress High School. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire spent the day in Childress and has more.
Tornadoes Kill Three in North Texas
Just hours after a tornado struck Childress High School, class was still in session. On the south side of the campus, it looks like a normal day. However, just 500 feet away on the north side you can see what the tornado left behind.
"The superintendent told me over the phone there was a lot of damage and I had no idea it was quite like this," said Principal Randall Ryan.
The old gym received the most damage. One wall of the old gym is gone and the ceiling is now in pieces in the parking lot. The new gym right next to the old gym isn't quite as bad. It has roof damage, which caused a leaky ceiling and water spots so they may have to replace the entire floor.
Most students we spoke with thought class should've been cancelled. However, only three classrooms were damaged and most of that was minor. You can see roof damage in the ag classroom and another hole in the roof of the shop class.
"We can take care of our classrooms pretty quickly," said Ryan. "We can continue to have school this year and the start of next year. A decision on the gym area has to be made quickly, or we're going to be playing basketball games in someone else's gym and that's never a pleasant thing to do."
You can see buildings and trees knocked over throughout the city, leaving crews to work on power lines. But Childress High Alumna Kristy Smith says this is the high school most heartbreaking site. "I didn't think it would happen here. Everyone says that! I went to school here in the 80's and the gym's torn up. It was our gym, it's kind of sad."
School board members met Wednesday morning to discuss the quickest way possible to fix the damages to the school. Their biggest problem right now is graduation. Ryan says the new gym is the best place in town to hold the ceremony, but it may not be ready by the end of May.
The good news is the Childress Police Department says no injuries were reported.
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