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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/SUSAN HOLLAND The east wall of the new high school gymnasium in Gravette, which was under construction, toppled in high winds that accompanied a thunderstorm which popped up in the area on Wednesday afternoon.

GRAVETTE -- The east wall of the new, under-construction gymnasium structure, which extended about 15 feet above the current high school building, was blown over when a brief thunderstorm with heavy rain and high winds blew up suddenly. Apparently, damage occurred at about 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10.

Norman Mitchell, Gravette School District athletic director, estimated the wall was constructed in three or four days.

"Those masons work pretty fast," he said.

However, with the cleanup involved and the necessity to replace the scaffolding which was destroyed in the crash, it will likely take longer to build the second time.

"We're just lucky it didn't fall the other way," Mitchell said. If the wall had fallen toward the east instead of toward the west it would have fallen on the current locker room and damaged it, he explained.

"We have no control over the weather," Mitchell said. "Nothing we can do about it now. Just deal with it and go on."

Workmen had been on the site earlier in the day bracing up the wall, but heavy rain had driven them inside and no one was around and no injuries were reported in the collapse of the wall.

"We'll get back on it and, before you know it, we'll have a facility to be proud of," Mitchell said.

Completion was expected in July 2020, and Mitchell said the building will still be ready in the late summer of 2020.

General News on 07/17/2019

Print Headline: New gym wall topples in Gravette windstorm

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