About 2:30 p.m., heavy winds tore through Mintonye Elementary School and Southwestern Middle School.
Tippecanoe School Corp. Superintendent Scott Hanback said a teacher was working in Mintonye and a custodian was working in Southwestern when the storm hit.
Both made it out of the buildings unharmed.
“Thank God this happened on a Sunday and not on a school day,” Hanback said.
Twisted debris from both schools was wedged in the chain link fence surrounding the property. Portions of the roof were torn off Southwestern, and the school’s gym was badly damaged.
Behind Mintonye, a wastewater treatment plant was flattened, and basketball goals ripped from the playground blacktop were scattered on the front lawn.
“My daughter used to go to school here. Now it’s gone. I can’t believe it,” said Robert Gilbert as he snapped cellphone pictures of what was left of Southwestern’s gym. “I live about two (miles south) we it blew right over us. It’s a real shame.”
According to Governor Mike Pence, 15 Indiana counties sustained damage Sunday afternoon when tornadoes, thunderstorms and heavy winds tore through the state. The worst of the destruction was in Lafayette, Kokomo and Washington. More than 24,000 Duke Energy customers remained without power Monday morning.
Benton, Clinton Prairie, Kokomo, Maconaquah, Southeastern, Taylor, Tippecanoe and West Lafayette schools are all closed today. Many other districts in storm-ravaged areas are on a two-hour delay.
UPDATE, 1:05 p.m. EST: Southwestern Middle School could be closed for at least a month, reports the Lafayette Journal & Courier‘s Mikel Livingston.
Sunday’s storm tore cinderblocks from the walls of the gym and several classrooms, scattering debris around the school. Though most Tippecanoe schools will reopen Tuesday, Southwestern and nearby Mintonye Elementary School will remain closed.