The official rain gauge for Duncan measured only 0.29 of an inch during the brief storm a week ago, but it seemed like a deluge to five men on top of the OSU Extension Office building located at the Stephens County fairgrounds.

The building had been missing its “main” roof since a rogue dust devil pulled it off on July 1. The cover that remained was barely functional as a roof, so when it appeared that rain was threatening County Commissioners Darrell Sparks and Dee Bowen, along with three other men, attempted to cover the top of the building with a large tarp.

They had just gotten started when the storm hit.

The men “rode out” the storm on the roof, huddling under the tarp and trying to hold the canopy down over the building. They could see the flashes of lightning through the thick, dark tarp.

“It was pretty exciting for awhile,” summed up Bowen, with a shrug.

The effort was almost a success, keeping the office space underneath dry except for one area along the wall where the tarp did not reach.

“It was just a few feet short,” said Bowen.

At Monday morning’s meeting of the Stephens County commissioners, relief was expressed that work on the new roof for the building was now under way.

The cost of the new roof is $34,576; the bill coming in just under the $35,000 limit for an emergency repair which is set by state statute.

The county’s insurance will cover all but the $25,000 deductible.

“But that’s why we have a deductible fund, so the money is available,” explained Commissioners’ Secretary Barbara Prichard.

In other business, the commissioners approved contracts to clear the way for Rural Water District 5’s application for a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant for water system improvements, which will allow the construction of more than seven miles of new water mains. Included in the process was a contract with Murphy and Associates to be the grant writer and administrator.

The county board also approved a temporary service contract with Waste Connections for dumpsters needed for clearing the wreckage of the old roof from the OSU office building, and a host agreement with the Senior Community Service Employment Program to provide training and work experience for its participants.

“It’s a good program,” said Bowen of the SCSEP request. “We get a part-time person for awhile and they really help. Plus, it costs us nothing.”

The Stephens County Commissioners meet at 9:30 a.m Monday in the conference room of the Stephens County Courthouse.

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