JMS Power Grid Knocked Out During Derecho, Superintendent Says It Was A Near Miss

By Benjamin Cox on July 22, 2023 at 7:25am

One Jacksonville school that’s not been under construction almost wasn’t ready for the upcoming school year.

Jacksonville Middle School sustained damage to its electrical system during the June 29th derecho.

Superintendent Steve Ptacek says having power down at the school for nearly two days after the storm could have forced the district into an emergency plan to move students: “The bigger part of the aftermath of that storm wasn’t clean up. It was simply that we lost power at JMS and it blew a transformer. We didn’t fully talk about until we felt really good about it was that we were worried the transformer was going to take months and months of back order to get into the building. There was a couple days of panic there, wondering what was going to happen. Very fortunately we were able to find one, and it’s already installed and in place, and power is back on in the building. There was about 48 hours where they thinking about alternative options was definitely having to come into play.”

Other damages around the district was a large tree came down on the South Elementary School property. There was also minor roof damage found at Jacksonville High School. However, no major damage was done to any of the district’s building due to the storm.

Most of the costs associated with the storm will be covered by the district’s insurance.