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Water damage KOs gym floor

Ely Echo - Staff Photo - Create Article
WORKERS remove the wood flooring in the Memorial gym after a pipe burst and damaged the floor.

by Tom Coombe

The nearly 75-year-old gymnasium floor in Ely’s Memorial High School will be replaced, but probably not in the way that school officials envisioned.

Recent water damage at the school is bringing about the change by necessity, and crews were on hand Monday to begin the arduous process of removing wood from the floor.

Work is expected to take months and cost well into six figures, but the district is completing an insurance claim because of a burst water line that caused heavy damage, including in some classrooms, in mid-March.

Tim Leeson, the district’s facilities director, briefed board members Monday.

“The (insurance) adjuster and a floor specialist did come here last Thursday,” said Leeson. “They cut a hole in the floor and looked and determined the floor needed to be removed. You couldn’t sand it any more and it was enough that it just completely needed to be taken out.”

For now, only the top layer of the floor - the gymnasium playing surface - is being removed.

There are two additional layers underneath.

“They’re hoping that after they get the floor ripped up and cut some holes in various areas and dry it out (it could be preserved),” said Leeson.

That process could take up to a month before it’s determined what will come next.

Leeson added “we haven’t heard anything on timelines or when the floor will be ordered. There’s lots to decide with that.”

In the meantime, the Memorial gym has been shut down for the remainder of the school year - disrupting some physical education classes and Ely’s spring sports teams.

With snow on the ground

until late this week, and fields still a relative mess, the gymnasium has been the practice home of Ely’s baseball and softball teams until this week.

The baseball team went over to Babbitt, taking full advantage of a new cooperative agreement with neighboring Northeast Range, to practice in the gymnasium there.

Meanwhile, Ely’s softball team has ventured out into the arena parking lot and will  utilize the new gymnasium at times.

Both the baseball and softball teams hope to get out onto their fields within a week.

Board chairman Ray Marsnik said he was impressed by the cleanup district custodial staff has done in the wake of the water damage.

“It was a big job and they did a tremendous job,” Marsnik told Leeson.

In other business, the board:

• Accepted the retirement notice of longtime school maintenance worker Kirt Hartshorn, who will leave the district at the end of the school year.

• Received an updated enrollment report that showed current K-12 enrollment at 544 students.

• Hired Suzanna Kelley for a cafeteria aide position.

• Accepted the resignation of paraprofessional Ammie Peterson, effective June 2.

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