The large flag that has flown for years over Marietta Middle School is temporarily absent from the city skyline after a storm toppled the flag pole last month.
The 90-foot flag pole had been at the building since its construction in the 1920s, and the 18-by-12-foot flag that flew on it was visible from various points around the city, said Will Hampton, middle school principal.
"I've had a lot of people comment that they've noticed it was gone," he said.
The pole fell as the result of a late July storm, although the June 29 derecho storm may have paved the way by causing problems with the guy wires, said Dave Davis, transportation, buildings and grounds manager for Marietta City Schools. The base was also corroded.
"We had been checking at it, but didn't realize it was that bad because the base was covered up with bracketing," Davis said.
Both Hampton and Davis said they were grateful the pole fell while school was out, minimizing the chances of injuries and further property damage.
Davis said the district plans to replace the pole, which could cost $15,000 or $16,000. However, the location is expected to be moved from the back of the building to the front in an effort to make the flag even more visible. Officials are also considering placing a brick walkway around it and possibly selling memorial bricks to help with some of the expense, but those plans have not been finalized, Davis said.
In the meantime, a temporary flag will be placed at the building.
"I can't get it (the new pole installation) done before school starts," Davis said.
The pole has been the centerpiece of a patriotic event held during the early days of school over the last five years during Hampton's tenure as principal. A new flag is put up and members of the local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution speak to students.
"The kids really respond to it," Hampton said.
This year's ceremony will be pushed back because of the lack of a flag pole.
"We'll wait until we do something until we do something to address the old pole permanently," Hampton said.
The principal added that anyone wanting to contribute to the efforts to replace the pole is welcome to contact him at 374-6530.