JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The devastating 2019 Jefferson City tornado could end up leading to new facilities for future Jefferson City High School athletes, according to JCPS athletic director Ehren Earleywine.
"It provided a real silver lining for our future facilities because across the street most of those houses were wiped out, and it provided us an opportunity to purchase a bunch of those properties - so that maybe someday we can turn that into a sports park," Earleywine said. "It was an awful thing, but there have been some real positives that have come from it."
Earleywine said the Jefferson City School District has purchased roughly 40 houses since the tornado in May of 2019.
Jefferson City spokeswoman Ryan Burns told ABC 17 News the district has spent $2,042,629 in acquiring those houses and another $201,415 for demolition.
"It's an enormous section of that part of Stadium Boulevard," Earleywine said. "It's right next to Capital Region Medical Center and right next to JC's football field."
As of now - several Jefferson City teams practice and compete at off-campus facilities. The baseball team plays at Vivion Field. The soccer team plays at 179 Soccer Park. And so on.
"For 50 years, our kids have had to drive off campus to attend practice and games, and we're really excited about the possibility of within the very near future of having some facilities there on our campus where our kids don't have to drive anywhere," Earleywine said. "They can be updated and really nice turf facilities all in one place for our kids."
Earleywine estimated the project could cost about $10 million to complete.
The 2019 tornado ripped through Adkins Stadium last May, damaging the scoreboard and tearing the roof off the press box. Earleywine said it took months to repair everything, and insurance helped cover most of the cost.
Burns said the district spent $2,699,448 on repairs so far from the tornado but doesn't expect to spend any more because repairs have been completed
According to Burns, repairs to Jefferson City High School, including Adkins Stadium's press box and scoreboard cost $1,605,366.
"To look back on that, and to think that nobody was hurt is the real miracle from all of that," Earleywine said.