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Storm rocks Marble Falls schools, museum

The Falls on the Colorado Museum

Windows on the west side of The Falls on the Colorado Museum, 2001 Broadway in Marble Falls, took a beating from baseball-size hail on April 9. Volunteers were busy the next morning boarding up holes and sweeping up glass. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Marble Falls school buses took a beating from baseball-size hail on Tuesday evening. The April 9 storm also knocked out six of 57 windows in the Old Granite School building, owned by the school district and leased to The Falls on the Colorado Museum, and downed a tree in Johnson Park. 

The museum, 2001 Broadway, was closed on Wednesday as volunteers cleaned up the mess, but school services, including bus pickup, were not affected. 

The museum is expected to reopen on Thursday. 

“Luckily, nothing inside was damaged,” said Darlene Oostermeyer, vice chair of the museum’s Board of Directors. “We were very fortunate. The school is working on a temporary covering until we can get everything else taken care of.” 

The Falls on the Colorado’s next-door neighbor, the older building on the Marble Falls Elementary School campus, also lost windows. Other Marble Falls Independent School District buildings might have suffered roof damage, as leaks soiled ceiling tiles and water collected in spots in the high school and administration office, according to Superintendent Dr. Jeff Gasaway. 

“We will have to assess our roofs for any damage,” he told DailyTrib.com. 

Many school buses lost windows and mirrors. 

“Our transportation director and assistant superintendent worked last night to make sure our bus fleet was ready to pick up kids on schedule this morning,” Gasaway said. “We had to take a couple of buses out of circulation, but we could transition in reserve buses to replace those heavily damaged.”

The city of Marble Falls lost a tree in Johnson Park and had “nominal” damage to some roofs, according to Mayor Dave Rhodes. 

“We’re fully functioning and back in business,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll be in cleanup mode over the next week or so with broken things around the community and in the neighborhoods.” 

The Old Granite School was built in 1891. The school district bought the building in 1908 and used it for classrooms and administration offices until 1987. The museum opened in 2010. 

Much of the damage, which affected windows on both floors, was in the reading room, formerly the office of the superintendent of schools. 

The second floor has been closed since the museum took over because it was determined to be structurally unsound. At a recent MFISD board meeting, trustees voted to spend $250,000 to shore up the second floor so it can be used for exhibit space. 

Windows, however, were not included in that project. The museum’s board was already planning to replace each of the 57 windows at an estimated cost of about $240,000.

“We will be fundraising to replace those windows,” Oostemeyer said. “On the second floor, we want them to be fabricated to look like the lower windows so that the top floor matches the bottom floor.” 

The bottom-floor windows have a curved piece of glass atop each of the bigger, rectangular windows. 

To donate to the project, visit The Falls on the Colorado Museum website’s donation page

suzanne@thepicayune.com