The aftermath of Sunday night's Hattiesburg tornado left Oak Grove High School and Hattiesburg High School's athletics facilities in ruins. According to officials, the damage will likely cost millions takes months, if not a year, to repair.
"(The damage was) a little worse than what we feared," said Lamar County School Superintendent Ben Burnette.
Because the affected areas felt the brunt of the storm around nightfall, officials could not fully assess the extent of the damage until Monday morning. Oak Grove staff awoke to the sight of twisted metal, demolished buildings, downed stadium lights and debris-filled fields.
The tornado completely destroyed the press box at Harry Breland Field, which lay toppled over much of the seating in the stadium. The twister also lay waste to the indoor hitting facility as well as the football field house on the opposite side of the parking lot.
"Our athletic facilities are all but gone," said Burnette.
Hattiesburg, meanwhile, saw its baseball stadium heavily damaged. The light post in right field could be seen snapped in half (the bottom half still standing, with the top half almost forming an 'A' shape), while wood, brick from the left-field wall and other assorted debris covered the field. The basketball gym floor was also found soaked in water and covered with insulation fallen from the ceiling.
Hattiesburg officials said they wouldn't have a an answer on a repair timeline until Tuesday, but estimated it could take months to repair the gym, which had just undergone renovations no more than a few weeks ago.
Both schools say they have options on the table as to where their basketball and baseball teams can play their home games in the foreseeable future.
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