Lightning Empties LEC

It was one strike, but they’re still out.

Following a morning lightning strike at the Stone Building on the Warren State Hospital grounds, Warren County School District Learning Enrichment Center students will be taking their classes in Clarendon.

A lightning strike at approximately 9:30 a.m. prompted state hospital personnel to ask the center to evacuate. Students were taken to the district’s central offices located across the grounds in the Curwen Building.

“Everybody was safe,” District Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Gary Weber said. “It was outside structural damage, so nobody was hurt.”

Longer term, according to Weber, the district will be moving students to Allegheny Valley Elementary School for a short time.

“We’re looking at about a week,” Weber said. “They have, I think, three rooms they can use.”

Amy Stimmell serves as principal at both Allegheny Valley and the Learning Enrichment Center, something Weber said will help facilitate the temporary move.

The move will impact less students than usual as attendance at the center is down this week due to Pennsylvania System of State Assessment (PSSA) testing.

“Fortunately, with testing this week, the number of students attending there is down,” Weber said.

Students aren’t the only ones affected by the strike.

The building also houses A Safe Place, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Offices and Warren County Conservation District quarters.

“A Safe Place will be closed until officials from Warren State Hospital deem it safe to return to the Stone Building,” A Safe Place Executive Director Terri Allison said. “A Safe Place will be providing the same 24-hour services through our hotline at 1-814-726-1030 or 1-800-338-3460.”

Carey Miller with the state Department of Public Welfare said the Warren County Public Assistance Office was evacuated as well.

“They have temporarily relocated staff to the Israel Building,” Miller said. “So anyone who needs to get in touch with the CAO (county assistance office) can go there. They’re telling us they will, hopefully, be able to go back on Friday.”