Olive Branch Middle School damaged in severe weather

By Chip Washington - bio | email

OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC-TV) - When severe storms moved through North Mississippi Saturday, a middle school took a hit from the heavy winds.

The storms cut a path of damage through many communities, including Olive Branch.  Their middle school suffered damage for the second time in less than a year.

Memories were still fresh from the extensive damage the City of Olive Branch sustained last June when an EF-5 tornado ripped through the area, causing millions of dollars in damage.

One of the places hardest hit in last year's storm was Olive Branch Middle School, with an estimated million dollar price tag for repairs.

Principal Mike McCoy said Saturday's damage was not as extensive.

"Came on up and noticed some room damage, the awnings had been blown off," McCoy said.  "The dugouts down at the field had been destroyed."

A school video camera showed the awning behind blown from the building as the storm hit.

McCoy said early estimates put the repair cost at around $25,000.

"I'm wondering whether the tornado and storm magnet is buried on this campus," McCoy said.  "We've been hit twice in less than a year."

The school was built in 1947 and is structurally sound, but last June there was major damage to the auditorium and athletic fields.

McCoy was relieved there were no injuries in either incident.  He said he liked living in Olive Branch with one exception.

"Great place to live until the skies get dark," McCoy said.

McCoy noted that the final repairs had just been completed from last year's damage.  He said the additional cost of up to $25,000 could not have come at a worse time due to the state's budget woes.

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