The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

By Hailey Perrin
Faculty members begin the process of cleaning the damage from the storm Sunday May 19th.

Breaking News: Storm damage, possible gas leak cancels classes Monday

More information about finals and the remaining days of school will be sent later

Update 4:30 p.m.  The National Weather Service declared two EF1 level tornadoes touched down in Johnson County. One near Mill Valley High School in Shawnee. The tornado lasted approximately five minutes from 10:31 p.m. to 10:36 p.m., according to an article published by local news station KSHB.


Update 2 p.m. Silver 4 and 5 finals have been moved to Wednesday, May 22. Wednesday has been made a full day and lunch and transportation will be provided following normal day schedules according to an email from Principal Dr. Gail Holder.

District officials released a statement about the damages

“Upon further inspection, crews identified a gas line on the school roof that was compromised by high winds. The gas line had been connected to an HVAC unit, which is now isolated with repairs underway,” The statement said. “Most of the storm damage is contained to structures and fencing within the school’s outdoor athletics area. Cleanup of debris will commence as soon as possible and will take time. For planning purposes, there will be no access to MVHS athletic fields and tennis courts until further notice. After a full inspection, Mill Valley High School is safe for staff and students to resume classes on Tuesday, May 21”


Classes were canceled Monday, May 20 after an overnight storm left extensive damage around the school and caused a gas leak in the building.

Storms caused major damage to the football and soccer fields as well as the tennis courts. However a gas leak inside Mill Valley as well as damage to the AC units on the roof of the school sent students home for the day. According to principal Dr. Gail Holder, there could be some damage in the main gym as well as outside the Performing Arts Center entrance.

Superintendent Dr. Cory Gibson was alerted of the damage early this morning and came out quickly to survey the damage.

“I received a call earlier this morning that there was some damage at that point isolated to the football stadium area,” Gibson said. “Then when I arrived here at 6 a.m. it was obviously broader than that so we have quite a bit of damage to the field house, some of the exterior sheds around the field area as well as some of the equipment that you’d use on the field.”

For Gibson the decision to cancel school was made quickly after a gas smell was reported near the school. 

“It’s been known in this area that last night’s storm damage caused some damage to other areas, other houses and so forth in the region,” Gibson said.  “And in that particular case, somebody shared that there was a gas smell outdoors. We talked to the fire department here about an hour ago. We have several places that are saying there might be a gas leak, And then about 7:20 a.m. we recognized that there actually might be a gas leak within our school itself. And so at that point, we had no choice but to cancel for the safety of kids.”

Head tennis coach Steve Bock took his time evaluating the damage to the courts, including down perimeter fencing, bleachers flipped upside down and the storage shed shattered in pieces. A track state championship sign from the football field ended up 200 feet away by the tennis courts.

“I was just headed to the middle school to sub for the day,” Bock said. “Everything can be replaced, we will get a new and better shed. These are just my immediate thoughts. I mean [looking to] summer I’ve got camps coming up and I’ll be seeing what’s going to happen with those. I think we’ll figure a way out.”

Bock isn’t worried about the damage to the tennis courts and what will happen to the summer plans, he is more worried everyone stays safe.

“It’s just stuff and stuff can be replaced. I’m glad nobody, as far as I know, got hurt,” Bock said. “What I’m worried about now is people coming through here stepping on a nail. I’ve scattered some people out of here already so trying to get somebody from the district [to come to the courts] now at least I have to stand guard.”

Sophomore Dillon Schmidtmann knew there was a storm last night, but didn’t know how bad it was.

“I was kind of shocked because I had no idea that the storms were even bad at all until I saw a picture from one of my friends,” Schmidtmann said. “The bleachers were on the fence and we walked down to the football field and the scoreboard was completely destroyed.”

Similarly, Junior Sierra Manning was initially surprised by the damage and how everything was been thrown around.

“I was walking up the sidewalk by the football field and I saw the knocked-over fences. Then I’m like, ‘oh, there was a visitor ticket booth here before and now there’s no longer a ticket booth there,’” Manning said.

“I’m just devastated that all the things that we’ve worked so hard to build and create were just [destroyed] in a night. This provides perspective on the things that are really important. Thank goodness there were no people hurt and it didn’t happen during school.”

— principal Dr. Gail Holder

Holder said the building has been cleared by the fire department.

“What I understand is that the building is 100% safe at this point, but they are making double and triple sure that our students are safe to return to school tomorrow,” Holder said.

Canceling school has adjusted Manning’s studying plans for finals.

“This means I’ll study a bit more than I did,” Manning said. “This weekend, I went to a lot of grad parties so now I’ll actually have time to work on studying for classes.” 

Freshman Andrew Martin is also going to use his time off to study.

“I’m going to have to put a lot more time into studying at home so that I actually remember stuff for finals days,” Martin said. “I’m glad that we have the day off, but if it’s more than a couple of days off and we have to make it up next week, it [will] really change my plans and that’s gonna be annoying.”

Gibson said the district will begin evaluating damage and working on communication about finals.

“So first thing, it is very similar to a homeowner. We need to go through a process of contacting our insurance, the insurance company will come out and evaluate the damage itself. And from there, we’ll begin the process of repairs,” Gibson said. “I guarantee final information will probably go out later today so we can do it once we know exactly what the damage is here and we will know more tomorrow.”

Holder was shocked by the damage but is glad no one was hurt. 

“I’m just devastated that all the things that we’ve worked so hard to build and create were just [destroyed] in a night,” Holder said. “This provides perspective on the things that are really important. Thank goodness there were no people hurt and it didn’t happen during school.”

At the time of this story, police started blocking off the school perimeter so crews can begin the clean up. More information about finals and remaining classes for the semester will be sent by the school later today.

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About the Contributors
Evan LeRoy
Evan LeRoy, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Evan LeRoy’s first year on the JagWire staff. Evan is a reporter for both the newspaper staff and for the broadcast staff. Outside of school Evan likes to perform, take walks and spend time preparing for his next performance. Evan is excited to learn all the skills he will need to do both print and video journalism. Evan is excited to be a part of both groups and is excited to tell all the important stories the people of Mill Valley need to know.
Quin Peters
Quin Peters, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Quin Peters’ first year on the JagWire staff. She will be exploring the roles of writer and designer for the newspaper this year. Outside of school, Quin crochets, reads, writes creatively and is involved in art. Quin is a member of several clubs at the school, including National Art Honor Society, Youth for Refugees, Women’s Empowerment, Scholars Bowl, Creative Writing Club and Model UN.
Avery Clement
Avery Clement, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is Sophomore Avery Clement’s first year on the JagWire staff. She is looking forward to learning about designing, writing and photography for the JagWire. Outside of journalism, Avery enjoys watching movies, crocheting and thrifting and reselling clothes. She also works as a gymnastics coach at Pinnacle gymnastics. She is a member of Youth for Refugees and Women's Empowerment Club and is also in Model UN. She is looking forward to a fun year on the JagWire staff.
Hailey Perrin
Hailey Perrin, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is junior Hailey Perrin’s second year on the JagWire staff. She is looking forward to another year of designing and some more exploring in writing and photography. Outside of the newspaper room she enjoys traveling, anything creative and photography. If she is not doing one of those things she will be with her friends having the time of her life.

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