MOULTON — Lawrence County High School is still operating without a gym because of insurance delays following a July 6 macroburst.
The gym is the only major building damaged by the straight-line winds, which reached 80 to 100 mph, still not repaired.
The gym roof was torn off, landing on the main building’s roof and causing almost $1 million in damage.
The main building has been mostly repaired, but Lawrence Schools Superintendent Heath Grimes said the gym remains unusable because of delays on materials and disagreements with the insurance provider.
“We’re expanding to a 5A program,” Grimes said. “We can’t piecemeal this. We need to build it back right for the kids.”
The school is insured through Alabama Risk Management for Schools, which is part of the state Department of Finance.
Grimes said the insurance policy has a clause allowing for a new gym if the current one is unusable. He said ARMS has paid only for a new floor and roof because an engineer reported those were the only parts damaged by the storm. Grimes said another engineer, hired by the school system, told him the age of the building makes its walls unsafe.
“I understand all of the damage wasn’t caused by the storm,” Grimes said. “But the way I see it, we had a gym and now we don’t have a gym. The insurance company is being very difficult.”
Grimes said the school system is consulting with an attorney.
Wind in a macroburst blows straight down and spreads out when it hits the ground. Although a macroburst’s winds do not circulate, they can cause as much damage as a small to medium tornado.
Scotty Terry’s glass storefront at Outdoor Parts in Moulton burst during the storm, and though he didn’t go out of business, some customers didn’t stop by because the store looked closed.
Like many, Terry was concerned his insurance wouldn’t be enough to cover the damages.
“I don’t own the building. I just rent,” he said. “But insurance came through.”
Meleia Heflin, owner of Zann Photography, said her front windows were shattered, too, and she lost many of her portraits displayed in her storefront. Fortunately, she didn’t lose any equipment.
Heflin said their stories are typical: Despite the pain of an insurance deductible, businesses and homes have bounced back.
“Everything has gotten cleaned up really well,” she said.
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