Marshalltown Schools officials talk storm damage, response

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - District officials shared an update on the damage and recovery efforts the school district has been involved in since the July 19 tornado. The storm damaged three elementary school buildings. District students and staff reached out to the community to help and facilities were used to host relief services as well as food and clothing giveaways. From left: district Food Service Director Lynn Large, District Director of Communications Andrew Potter, District Buildings and Grounds Director Chuck Springer.

Despite taking damage to three elementary school buildings, Marshalltown Schools staff, students and facilities have taken part in recovery efforts after the July 19 tornado.

“Amid the tragedy, we were proud of our students and staff for stepping up, hundreds were out in the community, volunteering,” said district Director of Communications Andrew Potter at Monday’s Marshalltown School Board meeting. “We responded in several different ways – first of all, buildings and grounds had to respond to roof damage at Franklin and Woodbury (elementary schools).”

District Director of Buildings and Grounds Chuck Springer reported on the damage to district buildings.

“We had significant direct damage to Franklin and Woodbury roofs,” he said. “We also had some … collateral damage to the roof at Rogers, it had some penetrations from debris from the surrounding neighborhood.”

He said the buildings all experienced smaller types of damage, from broken windows to fence damage. However, despite the roof damage at Woodbury and Franklin, Springer was confident that the schools will be fit for students by the first day of school on Aug. 23.

Rains fell on Marshalltown earlier this week, and Springer said both buildings remained dry.

District Food Service Director Lynn Large spoke about the free meals given to children after the tornado. The district’s ongoing free meals program had to adapt to the new circumstances.

“We just adjusted our schedules to make sure that anybody in the affected areas got a meal if they wanted one,” she said. “Rogers and Woodbury continued to feed students through July 27 and Franklin was scheduled to close on July 20 and we kept them open through the end of this week.”

Large also said Lenihan Intermediate School took over for the Salvation Army location, 907 W. State St., as a feeding location.

“There’s also greater need for meals to be provided for the camps and the daycare at the YMCA and we plan to feed the kids at the YMCA and the Parks and Rec camp at Lenihan through … Aug. 17,” she said.

Potter said efforts like the one from Marshalltown High School baseball players attracted state and national attention, but there was a lot of other important work being done by district personnel.

“That was just a small sample of the many students and staff who were out there helping clean up, helping with clothes giveaways and everything like that,” he said.

Free school supplies are set to be given to storm victims 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 201 E. Church St. Some supplies were donated from within the district, and about 400 supply kits were donated from the Raytown School District in Missouri.

In other business

The board unanimously approved the purchase of 15 Lightspeed Topcat audio systems for use at Woodbury Elementary School at a cost of $24,480. The system includes a mounted speaker, two microphones and a media connector.

District Superintendent Theron Schutte recommended the purchase to help ensure all children in a classroom with the system can hear the teacher and other students speaking. He said he hopes the systems will expand to other buildings and that Woodbury, with its dual-language curriculum, is a good testing ground to ensure students can hear instructions clearly.

The board also approved a bid for nutrition equipment like pans, hot and cold food serving counters, a can rack and more at a total of $32,369.12. The bid came from Rapids Wholesale of Marion.

A bid for chromebook cases was also awarded Monday. That bid from CDW Corporation came in at $12,685 for 430 cases for the Lenovo chromebooks used by district seventh graders.

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave.

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Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com