Restoring Kennedy After Derecho Storm Damage


Jason Kline

The Kennedy High School Auditorium under renovations due to extensive damage from the storm.

Kennedy High School was hit the hardest of the Cedar Rapids Schools during the derecho this summer. On August 10, 140 mph winds were hurled across parts of Iowa and the surrounding states resulting in widespread damage. Due to the significant damage, Kennedy was unable to open its doors this fall.

In a video provided by the Cedar Rapids Community School District, Kennedy principal Jason Kline and activities director Aaron Stecker provided an inside look at the school and walked viewers through the construction process.  Kline describes the damage as serious, especially on the roof.

In the black box, like many areas of the school, there is water damage. The room is being dried out and the flooring will be replaced. The roof above the main auditorium stage was ripped off and water poured onto the stage floor. Like the black box, the auditorium floor will be replaced.

“[The auditorium] looks way better than it did a couple weeks ago, but a long ways to go,” Stecker said.

The IMC had a significant amount of water fall from the ceiling into the upper and middle IMC, damaging about 300 books. 

“It will be a project that will take us a little bit of time but we’re glad that more damage wasn’t done to the IMC than we experienced,” Kline said

In many of the classrooms on the upper level, water leaked onto the floor through the ceiling tiles. The bottom of the drywall has been ripped off and will be replaced. 

“They’re doing a great job and they’re making great progress,” Stecker said.”You can see the amount of work that’s in front of them to restore our classrooms back to what we had.”

The gymnasium experienced the most damage. In the corners of the gym, one of the roof drains collapsed, causing all the water on the roof to start running onto and under the floor, forcing the floor to be removed and replaced entirely. 

 “We’re excited that we’ll get to have a new floor, but of course this means that the gym is not accessible right now,” Kline said. “That’s, of course, put a bit of a damper on our fall sports.”

Due to the extensive renovations in the gym, most school sports have been relocated offsite. Kennedy swimmers have returned to practice in the pool this previous Monday since the renovations have been completed.

Kline believes that we should have access to most of the building by December 31. The gym will likely take longer. 

 “We’ve got a lot of work to do, we’ve got a lot to accomplish, there’s gonna be a great amount of change here to the building as we go forward, but we’re gonna get some new stuff which will be nice,” Kline said. “In the meantime, we’ll be doing some great online learning, taking care of each other during that time, and we’ll be back together before you know it.”