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Storm-damaged county building repaired

Construction on a county building damaged after two severe summer storms has been completed, and repair costs reached nearly $70,000.

Oak Cottage on the Children’s Home campus sustained significant damage when a tree crashed through the roof of the building after a June 29 derecho thunderstorm and a second storm on July 1 that left thousands in Clark County without power.

Job and Family Services of Clark County Director Bob Suver said construction on the building was completed in December, but the facility remains unoccupied.

“It’s all back together. It looks nice. It’s all ready to go,” Suver said, adding that he expects the building to open soon.

Kapp Construction began working on the building in September after county commissioners approved a contract for $68,980, county officials said. The final cost for repairs was $65,500, said Erin Thomas-Brodine, JFS fiscal supervisor.

Most of the costs were covered by the county’s insurance company. However, county officials expect to receive $2,500 in federal storm aid to repay its insurance deductible, Suver said.

Clark and Champaign counties were among 37 in Ohio declared federal disaster areas by President Barack Obama, allowing area municipalities and some nonprofit agencies to receive 75 percent reimbursement from the federal government for emergency work and repair of facilities damaged by the storms.

Storm damage statewide reached $29.5 million, with Clark County estimates topping $524,000, Ohio Emergency Management Agency officials said.

The damage to the building at 525 E. Home Road was among the most severe in Clark County.

The building is used by Gibault Inc., which provides supervised visitation programs for children in foster care and their families.

Gibault employees have been working in another building on the Children’s Home campus since the incident was reported on July 1.

Wallace Brown, a maintenance supervisor, said the tree plunged through the back of the building, damaging multiple rooms inside the facility.

He said that the building has been cleared to reopen and that Gibault employees could be back inside the building this month, as soon as next week.

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