Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School gym floor in need of repair and could affect winter sports

TENNERTON – An issue with the gym floor at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School may affect the winter sports season, but it’s too early to tell.

At Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting, curriculum director Tim Derico said that isolating what caused the problem is ongoing.

“There is a moisture issue or humidity issue,” he said. “It has caused the floor to raise in one section down by the stage.”

The area in question is outside of the playing surface of the basketball court.

This is not the first time that the floor has raised like this, according to Derico.

“It’s not a new problem,” he said.

This fall proved to be very wet and there was still high humidity until just a few weeks ago.

Derico said that engineers have looked at the floor and the building and are trying to make sure the issue is not structural.

“We are at a point where each stage is going to have to be taken to analyze what the problem truly is,” he said.

One recommendation has been to install gutters on the side of the building. 

“There are four roof drains on that gym and there are no issues with any of the four roof drains but there is belief that heavy rain could be lapping over the side causing issue with that,” he said.

Derico said the next step is to proceed with a gutter project and they are getting estimates. He is trying to coordinate work to be done over Thanksgiving Break while students are out of the building.
Meanwhile, there are sandbags placed on the floor to weigh it down and try to prevent the floor from raising up in more areas.

Until there is more identification of the problem and what is causing it, Derico said it’s too early to tell what will happen with the games.

“We want the middle school to play in their own gym,” he said. “We’re not saying it’s moving [the home games] but we are not saying it’s not moving either.”

On Tuesday, Derico told board members, “The scheduling issue that we are presenting the middle school for winter sports is huge. I’m fully aware of that and you all need to be aware of that from the standpoint of the public and parents.”

“We are talking about basketball teams, wrestling teams, cheerleading and those away teams already being scheduled to come here on certain nights.

“Fortunately with the cooperation at the high school, we are going to do the best we can with that, but it’s going to be a burden felt for a little bit of time,” he said.

Derico will likely have an update for the board of education’s next meeting, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving Break—Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. at Buckhannon Academy Elementary.

Derico also reported on a recent leak at Buckhannon-Upshur High school and how maintenance staff found a drill bit that had been dropped into the system 17 years ago.

“That drill bit would not make the bend in the elbow – and it poked that with 60 pounds of pressure for 17 years until it finally punctured a hole in the elbow and caused a leak,” he said.

“Our maintenance folks and Tim Liggett are to be commended,” he said. “They did that on a Sunday evening in order to have school the next day. The custodian staff and maintenance staff cleaned up and got things in order so there would be heat the next morning.”

The board approved a memorandum of understanding to be presented at the Buckhannon City Council meeting Thursday night.

Stankus said the school system is proposing that the city tear down two buildings for free which would create additional parking spaces to alleviate the parking issues surrounding Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.

“Right now, Buckhannon Academy employees park on the street and if they have parent activities, everyone just parks where they can,” she said. “They have gone through several meeting and it’s been very public that the residents are not happy with having these folks park in their residential spaces. If we take the big grey building out and the maintenance building that has a lot of problems right now.

Stankus said the maintenance department suggested razing the white building near College Avenue and they be moved to the warehouse.

Almond said, “We’ve talked about taking these down before but it was always just the cost. This is a wonderful opportunity. It’s a thorn in the flesh of the city to have parking issues.

Stankus said, “We believe it’s a win-win.”

Suder moved to approved the memorandum of understanding which was seconded by Almond and passed.

Stankus was to be at last night’s meeting which occurred after the press deadline.

In other business, the board:

*Approved a change order by Sutter Roofing and Metal Company for Tennerton Roofing Project deducting $7,525.21 which covered some additional clean-up, repairs and additional compensation to the clerk of works because the project extended into the beginning of the school year which was not anticipated. Suder moved to approve which was seconded by Almond and passed.

*Approved collaborative pre-k agreements with the following sites: Creative Beginnings Child Development Center, Mountain CAP Inc., Island Nursery Kindergarten, Inc., Kids R Kids, Little Ones Place Christian Childcare Center LLC, and Upshur Human Resources Inc., Head Start.  Almond moved to approve which was seconded by Suder. The agreement with Child Development Center of Central West Virginia was tabled until the next meeting due to Loudin needing to recuse herself from the vote.

*Approved engagement with Dinsmore and Shohl LLP for services as legal counsel. Almond moved and was seconded by Suder. Stankus said many school systems have more than one legal firm to serve as representative.

*Following a half-hour executive session, the board approved the personnel recommendations from the superintendent.

*Following a brief executive session, the board approved the recommendation from the superintendent that a student, whose name is coded for privacy, be expelled for one year with visitation at the semester’s end for violation of Upshur County School’s policy 4011 and W.Va. Policy 4373 - Expected Behaviors in Safe and Supportive Schools. Suder moved to approve, seconded by Almond and the motion passed.


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