'We are all really fortunate'—Grant County High School athletic facilities damaged in storm

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By Paul Gable

Scott Shipp has seen a lot of storms, however, nothing prepared him for the damage he witnessed as he made his way to Grant County High School on Feb. 6.

The GCHS athletic director arrived at the high school at 5:30 a.m. and met with Deputy Superintendent Ken Gray, who told Shipp to check on the athletic fields.

It did not take Shipp long to see there was plenty of damage.

"I drove up to the student parking lot and saw the roof of our softball concession stand in the parking lot. My first thought was how could this happen and what do we do next. We are all really fortunate and blessed that we had all this damage and nobody got hurt," said Shipp.

Shipp continued to survey the damage, which included one destroyed soccer goal, the football scoreboard being blown away and damage to the new backstop at the baseball field. However, it was the softball field that sustained the most damage. The concession stand lost its roof, while the bleachers and third base dugout were destroyed.

Shipp said the basketball floor inside the gymnasium did not sustain any damage.

"I have lived here my whole life and this is the worst wind damage I have ever seen with the damage that has been done," Shipp said.

Superintendent Michael Hibbett echoed those thoughts, saying that he, too, has never seen that sort of damage from winds.

"It could have been a lot worse. We got really lucky," Hibbett said.

For Shipp, the main priority is getting the fields ready for the baseball and softball teams.

"We'll have a couple of weeks leeway because the teams normally practice in the gym, and when there is a small break in the weather, they start doing drills on the field," Shipp said.

Despite the damage, Shipp is "confident" that the facilities will be ready for opening day on March 25.

"If the weather holds out, we can do a lot of work between now and the first game. Unfortunately, the damage happened so close to the start of the season, but we want to get the fields ready for our kids to participate. We do have the old baseball field we can use if needed, but softball will have to wait until the facility is fixed," Shipp said.