Ursuline College in Pepper Pike assesses Saturday's tornado damage

EF-1 tornado destroys 40-year-old structure

PEPPER PIKE, Ohio - Jamie Orr walked Ursuline College's campus on Monday still reeling from how close she came to being struck by a tornado.

Her summer class dorm room is situated on a hill above a small campus lake, within 200 yards of a gymnasium torn about Saturday.

"I looked at my clock, it was 3:35. I remember exactly what time it was. I just remember hearing the wind and thinking how loud it was and seeing the flashes of lightning. It got me out of my bed and I went into the other room and looked out the window, which is right next to the lake," Orr said.

"I could just see nothing, basically. I could see the willows 5 feet from my window and that's about as far as I could see, which is weird because normally I can see straight across the lake even in the middle of the night. As I was watching and listening the willow trees just snapped, they just snapped in half."

Not hearing any tornado sirens or other warnings, Orr said she quickly checked the radar and the news stations on her computer. She found nothing to indicate trouble. Meantime, a building, which just two nights before hosted campers, had been demolished. Its roof flew off in winds estimated at well over 110 mph.

Ursuline's president Sister Diana Stano said remaining summer camps are now canceled, but regular summer college classes will resume Tuesday as scheduled. While other damage will require mostly roof damage repairs, the gymnasium is now a total loss.

"The insurance adjusters have been out. The police and fire departments, everybody has been wonderful to us, as well as neighbors reaching out to us. So the process has been, let us ensure the safety of people in terms of the buildings, let us make sure we get all the debris out of the way so that people will be safe and we will be open back up tomorrow, Tuesday," Sister Stano said.

"I know every crisis brings a blessing and so we're having all these little blessings coming to us in terms of all the people and the good things that are happening to us. So, I'm definitely looking forward to moving ahead for the future."

Ursuline College will have approximately 1,500 students arrive on campus in late August. All classes are expected to go on for the fall semester.

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