SUTHERLIN — Approximately 18 months after a $200,000 renovation of the Sutherlin High School gymnasium was completed, major damage from last week’s snowstorm has made the gym, locker rooms and adjoining music rooms unusable for the next several months.
The project completed in August 2017 involved refinishing and reconfiguring the floor, moving basketball baskets, the scorer’s table and a scoreboard, and installing new bleachers.
Now water leaks from snow melt have caused significant damage inside the gymnasium, making the timeline for repairs possibly stretching into the summer months, according to the school district.
“It started with our athletic director finding a small leak,” said Sutherlin School District superintendent Terry Prestianni.
Further inspection revealed the expansive damage inside the gym from the water.
“It’s moved its way down the walls on the interior of the gym, so they are removing most of the drywall, insulation and everything else that goes along with the interior,” Prestianni said.
All of the equipment in the building has been removed. Moisture did enter the music rooms, but all of the band equipment was moved out of the building and into the middle school next door.
“There is still snow on the roof, so at this point we’re waiting to be advised as to our next step,” he said. “We’re lucky that we found it when we did, and able to get people in here to get on it immediately.”
Crews from Servpro, Pierce Restoration and All Aspects have been working in the building to try to mitigate the damage. The total financial cost of the damage is not yet known.
Meanwhile, school officials are trying to cause as little disruption as possible for classes and the spring sports, but there will have to be some adjustments made.
“We’ve moved our band and choir classes over to the middle school library and (the middle school) is going to share some gym space for PE classes,” Prestianni said.
The locker rooms in the gymnasium are also unusable, and that’ll have an effect on spring sports, which fortunately, are all outside.
“They’ll probably have to use the restrooms at the facilities where they’re practicing,” he said.
Prestianni said the current plan will have to be re-evaluated by the district after spring break. The district had to put together a plan quickly, but he said the high school and middle school principals Kevin Hunt and Jon Martz worked together to make sure a plan was in place right away.
“The biggest problem was the lack of communication with cell phones down, they didn’t work real well, and we really wanted to get kids in school and get started, and adjust from there,” Prestianni said.
The district is working with their insurance company to find out what will be covered. Meanwhile, other buildings in the district, which still have snow on them, are also being checked on a regular basis to make sure they are OK.
The Sutherlin High School gymnasium was one of several buildings in the area to sustain damage from the snow. Farther to the north, snow compromised the roof of an auxiliary gym at Thurston High School in Eugene, forcing the gym to be demolished.
Prestianni said there has been a lot of gutter damage in the district that will have to be fixed, but they’re still assessing that because snow is still coming off the roofs.
“This looks like it’s going to be a very long-term project.”