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SK schools a lightning rod for ... well, lightning

“It sounded like two large pieces of metal being slapped together,” Principal Brian Pickard said Thursday, describing the instant lightning struck South Colby Elementary School.

It was the first of several forces of nature and technology to wreak a little havoc on two South Kitsap elementary schools. South Colby and Manchester both faced technical troubles this week with one force of nature, and an unusual power outage.

On Wednesday afternoon, Pickard and safety patrol students were preparing to let students out one classroom at a time, amid dark clouds and what the principal called sideways rain, when the bolt hit, causing a simultaneous flash of light and boom.

Pickard and others outside quickly scur-ried indoors and waited for the storm to pass before dismissing students to their buses.

The bolt caused no physical damage that school administrators could see, and they never fully determined a contact point despite rumors that the bolt hit a play structure.

However, the bolt did shake the school a bit, knocking loose several florescent light bulbs, and caused an electrical surge, damaging nine computers, the school’s phone lines and a switch that routes Internet access to several classrooms.

The switch has been replaced, but the district’s information technology department is still determining the extent of damage to the nine computers, which could require minor repairs or replacement.

Various teachers used the nine computers for attendance, grading and communication within the school.

Until those computers are repaired or replaced, the teachers are sharing three computers recently donated for the school’s lab, donated by the Parent-Teacher-Student Organization.

Early the next morning electrical troubles continued as Manchester Elementary School lost power, prompting administrators to cancel classes for the day.

Puget Sound Energy determined the problem was within the Manchester property and did not extend to streets or nearby homes. The school worked to get fuses and transformer parts to get the school going again, but at 6:30 a.m. decided to cancel classes for the day, not knowing when the school would be ready for students again.

By 9:30 a.m., power was back on and classes were set to resume again Friday.

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