Lightning Closes Marian Central
September 12, 2019
WOODSTOCK—Marian Central Catholic High School here was closed Sept. 10 after a lightning strike. 
At approximately 4:30 p.m., Sept. 9, lightning from a thunderstorm struck the high school causing extensive damage to the chimney and roof. 
In addition, there is water damage along with some lightning damage in a few areas inside the school. Water seeped through the ceiling over the auxiliary gym to the first floor. 
Fortunately, everyone in or around the building at that time evacuated safely. 
Parents were notified of the incident and were told that school activities were cancelled, including the freshmen football game and Athletic Boosters meeting.
According to Vito DeFrisco, interim superintendent at Marian Central, a building engineer was contacted to determine structural damage and identify what and how to complete the building repairs.
In addition, the building inspector from Woodstock was contacted along with heating and cooling professionals and a board-up service to secure the building. NICOR gas was to conduct a pressure test and, as a precaution, all gas service was turned off. 
As of Sept. 10, a building engineer was on site to assess the condition of the building and provide crucial information. Crews were working to clear debris caused by the lightning in order to minimize additional damage.
“Our main priority is to assure the safety of our students and staff. Once we are confident the building is stable and repairs can take place with minimal impact on the educational environment here at Marian, classes and activities will resume,” DeFrisco said.
Principal Debra Novy continued to update Marian families and staff as clean up was underway.
“We will continue to keep Marian families and staff updated, and only after all aspects of the building are determined to be functional and, above all, safe, will we reopen the school,” Novy said in a Sept. 10 note to parents.
“We just want to express our thanks and appreciation to all those staff members who were at Marian at the time of the incident last night,” she continued. “They went above and beyond in order to ensure everyone’s safety and coordinate with emergency response services.” 
In regard to athletic activities, DeFrisco said the school will follow IHSA guidelines relative to practices, games and athletics. 
Non-athletic extracurricular activities are cancelled until further notice. 
Damage and repair estimates had not yet been determined as of The Observer’s deadline Tuesday.