High winds attributed to a major severe weather outbreak lifted and damaged the highest roof section of Stansbury Theatre at the Conservatory of Music Sunday, April 10. The storm caused the delay of Associate Professor of Music Karen Leigh-Post’s recital in Harper Hall as well as a concert given by the Lawrence Academy of Music’s girl choir in Memorial Chapel.
According to Director of Facility Services Dan Meyer, “The roof damages needed to be repaired immediately. A local company set up on Monday morning and had the area recovered with a new roof within a few days.”
While the actual roof was in need of immediate replacement, Meyer stated that there was also damage to the dampers that are part of the fire system — that is still functioning, but eventually needs to be repaired. Facility Services is currently waiting for a quote from an outside contractor for repair of these dampers.
“Other than that roof, we had only minor damages on campus from the storm,” said Meyer.
Many Lawrence University students sought shelter in basements of campus buildings. After seeking shelter in the conservatory basement, freshman Justin Jones was in the vicinity of Stansbury Theatre when the damage occurred. “I was in [the conservatory] waiting for Karen’s recital to start when there was a loud sound that seemed to come from the roof,” said Jones. “We assumed it had been a tree that had fallen, but it apparently was the roof on Stansbury.”
While the damage was caused by high winds and not an actual tornado, the severe weather streak included 10 tornadoes reported and confirmed across Wisconsin Sunday evening. The downtown Appleton area — including Lawrence University — was under several severe weather warnings beginning around 7:30 p.m. that evening. Sunday made the record for the highest number of tornadoes in April in recorded state history.
The damage to Stansbury Hall was minor compared to other parts of the state. Approximately 160 homes were damaged in Kaukana, and there has been estimate of $4.7 million in damage in Outagamie county attributed to the April 10 storm. The worst damage was caused by an EF-3 tornado in the northern part of the state that ravaged the small city of Merrill, which reported 22 destroyed homes, totaling about $11 million in damages.