Sunday , March 05, 2017 - 5:15 AM1 comment
OGDEN — At first glance, the large, primarily used gym at Ben Lomond High School looks like any other gymnasium.
But that wasn’t the case in January when, after heavy snow and rain, water started dripping through the ceiling and pooling on the south end of the gym floor. Principal Dale Wilkinson said a boy’s basketball game had to be rescheduled.
“There has always been a water issue, it has just never been enough to affect our games,” he said.
A total of $26,016 has been spent on the gym’s repairs since fiscal year 2008, which includes a $5,350 roof repair this school year, according to district data. Other repairs have been in the areas of electrical, lighting and plumbing, doors and the gym’s air and ventilation system.
A district-wide study conducted by by VCBO Architecture and Richard Bott Architects in 2002 resulted in a comprehensive facilities report which was used to distribute a $95.3 million bond initiative passed in 2006.
Some of that money went to the Ben Lomond gym for a new boiler, gym floor, external paint, sections of bleachers and a handful of other repairs.
After those funds were allocated, the district revamped the facilities report to reflect completed repairs as of 2016. The report estimates it would cost about $55.3 million to complete all of the district's capital projects using 2015 costs. Taking inflation into account, the gym alone is in need of about $6.5 million in repairs.
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Ben Lomond Head Custodian Richard Tonks said dealing with the water problem has just become a part of his routine, but it’s even worse in the school’s auxiliary gym.
Located in the same building as the main gym and separate from the school's main building, the water damage in the auxiliary gym is made much more apparent by a large brown water stain running along one wall down to a set of wooden bleachers.
“It comes down the wooden bleachers, which water and wood is not good,” he said. “Then it hits the floor, so we’ve got a lot of warping over there.”
The north end of the gym floor is slightly rippled too, something Tonks remedies with large black fans to air out the wood.
“It needs to be redone and it needs a crawl space under, it needs ventilation,” he said.
The district is pursuing a $100 million bond initiative this fall. District spokeswoman Skyler Pyle said in Utah, bond initiative money can only be spend on building projects. It can’t be applied to something such as increasing teacher pay.
District spokesman Jer Bates said it’s unclear which building projects the money would go toward but they are seeking public input through an ongoing phone survey aimed at voters.
The survey states the district has identified 14 schools in need of renovation or replacement.
At the same board meeting in February, board members wondered how to address the building’s many needs. Bates said that decision hasn’t been made either and he did not know how much a demolition and rebuild would cost.
Wilkinson pointed to a series of large vents on the outside of the gym building that are yellowed with age and said he wouldn’t be surprised if they had been a part of the building when he attended school there in the 1970s.
The hallways of the gym building surrounding both the main gym and auxiliary gym have textured walls left behind as facilities workers have removed the carpet from the walls over the years.
Tonks pointed to yellow spots showing through the white paint and said the stains are a result of the glue residue left behind from the carpet.
Wilkinson said in his four-year tenure as principal, students have been very respectful of the facilities they use but windows on one side of the gym building that have an internal plastic layer for aesthetic reasons are spotted with holes from student wear and tear.
Tonks said he hasn’t been able to find an effective patching method and each large plastic panel is about $1,000 to replace.
Wilkinson also said the pipes underneath the building are also aging and have to be repaired frequently.
Despite its age spots, Tonks said class reunion groups are always eager to tour the gyms because it's all that is left of the old school. The 2006 bond funded a major rebuild of the main school.
“A lot of time is spent by our custodial and maintenance staff to keep it looking as good as it possibly can,” Wilkinson said.
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