Two West Michigan schools under repair after Wendesday’s wind storm

Posted at 5:46 PM, Mar 09, 2017

WEST MICHIGAN -- Two schools are rebuilding after high winds swept their roofs right off on Wednesday.

Lakewood Early Child Development Center is closed while builders work to repair the roof that was ripped off Wednesday morning when the area saw wind gusts between 50 and 60 miles per hour.

The other school, Cityside Middle School in Zeeland, is open but unable to use their gym which was the only building affected by the storm.

Luckily, Cityside Middle School students weren't in the gym when the roof was torn off.

"Kids could’ve gotten hurt, but didn’t,” Zeeland Public Schools Superintendent Cal DeKuiper says.

Because of special activities changing the regular schedule, DeKuiper says students were not in the gym, but they did hear it, “Around 1 o’clock students heard quite a rumble in the hallways and as it ended up we lost about a third of the roof.”

The same cannot be said at Lakewood Public Schools. Students in the Early Childhood Center had to be evacuated after the winds damaged their roof. Lakewood Public Schools Superintendent Randy Fleenor was in a meeting adjacent to the affected building, “We had a visual of the roof coming off.”

Fleenor says teachers swiftly gathered up the students, “We kind of quickly got the kids out of that wing and into a safe part of the school, by essentially doing a tornado drill.”

The damage at Lakewood is not as bad as it looks.  “Fortunately it’s the upper outer shell of the roof," explains Fleenor, "It looks a lot worse than it is. It looks bad though.”

Back in Zeeland at Cityside Middle School, holes remain in the ceiling. DeKuiper says, “Some parts of the roof did come through one of the small holes that were there.”

DeKuiper says they didn't have to cancel any classes, but it will be a few days until students can use the gym again.

Over at Lakewood, Fleenor says school could resume as early as Friday if repairs go as planned, if not Monday,  “Kids don’t get too excited, we’ll definitely be back Monday.”