Tornado recovery brought Morgan, Magoffin counties together; 2 schools could be totaled

04/02/2012 11:43 AM

The destructive March 2 tornados that leveled downtown West Liberty and many structures around Salyersville have brought the communities together and sparked an outpouring of support from faith-based and community groups, said Magoffin County resident Grayson Smith.

Smith, a former University of Kentucky football player, now serves as executive director of administration in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. He said the recovery will take months, if not years and will cost tens of millions of dollars just in Morgan and Magoffin counties.

Early estimates had the cost of damage in Magoffin County at around $45 million, as reported by the Salyersville Independent , which Smith co-owns.

But the damage to two schools in Magoffin County could exceed that total by themselves, Smith said.

“Herald Whitaker Middle School — the roof is completely gone. You see steel trusses pulled away from the back of the building. There’s no doubt that you have a loss there,” Smith said (3:30).

“It appeared, according to one structural engineer, where the tornado actually lifted the school up and set it back down,” he said.

Smith said the Magoffin County School District will need some “state support” to help rebuild those schools but he said much of the costs will be covered by insurance and money from the restricted funds that have been in the district’s emergency account.


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