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Microburst wrecks Immaculate Heart High School

Rain caused $900,000 in damage
Posted at 5:40 AM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 12:47:06-04
A microburst ripped open the roof of Immaculate Heart High School in Oro Valley, causing $900,000 in damage last month.
On Tuesday, August 16th, a microburst sat atop the school for nearly an hour, ripping off the roof in an area sloped to allow water to hit the drain. Instead, it fell through the hole in the roof and into the building.
"The flood ended up going onto the top floor, seeping through the vents, seeping through the crawl spaces, damaging the roof, coming down to the next level, and coming down to the bottom level," said IHHS Principal Dan Ethridge.
Books were soaked, tiles fell to the floor, flooring bubbled up with water damage, among other things, Ethridge explained.
The insurance company got to work right away, beginning to repair the $900,000 in damage. The other half of the building, which did not sustain damage, will be retrofitted to match the west, or damaged, side.
The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will have to pay for that out of their own funds; they say it would not make sense to have one half of the school have new walls, windows, roofing, and paint, while the other side look much like it did in the 1950's.
Until after Christmas break, the 75 students at IHHS are learning in temporary classrooms at St. Odilia on Magee.
The IHHS does not turn away families who want their children to have a classic Catholic education, despite financial hardship. 
"There's a lot of contribution and giving back to the community by their students," said Ethridge, "so the sisters are responsible for a lot of success that's happened in Tucson."
Before the microburst, the school was raising money to renovate the gym, add to the math and English programs, and for extracurricular activities.
Immaculate Heart is a private Catholic school, founded in 1930 by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 
If you would like to donate to the sisters, visit
If you want to help but are unable to make a donation, the sisters and school simply ask for your prayers.