Thurston High gym set to reopen 1 year after roof collapse

When the roof collapsed, officials said it would reopen by fall 2019.

Posted: Feb 20, 2020 5:38 PM
Updated: Feb 20, 2020 5:38 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- One year after the Thurston High School auxiliary gym roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow and ice, the new gym has been rebuilt and is set to open within weeks. 

RELATEDTHURSTON GYM ROOF COLLAPSES; BOARD DECLARES EMERGENCY

When the roof collapsed, officials said it would reopen by Fall 2019.

However Brett Yancey, with Springfield Public Schools, said they ran into some unexpected challenges.

"In this area you're constantly building on a clay substructure in the ground," he said. "So evaluating how we need to support such a big building was a little bit of a (struggle) as well as tying it in to an existing facility."

He said that alone cost them two months. However, he also said the community has been understanding. 

"When folks are excited for a new facility it's never fast enough," Yancey said. "I could say the same from my perspective. It's never fast enough -- I want it done quicker, but we also want to make sure it's done at a high quality that the community can be proud of. Something they can look back at their school district and say, 'That's a community asset and it was done well.'"

The gym is set to reopen in three weeks and THS athletic director, Justin Starck, said it has been a tight squeeze in the meantime. 

"We have three boys basketball teams, two girls basketball teams, a boys wrestling team, a girls wrestling team, a dance team and a cheer team all trying to use one gymnasium," said Starck.

He also said the community has stepped up to help lighten the load.

"We've used Thurston middle school a few times and then unfortunately we've had to stagger the games so one may start at 4 p.m. and the problem with that is you have to pull kids out of school," said Starck.

Starck said when it reopens it will have additions the old gym didn't like bleacher seats and more space for athletes.

The district's insurance company is paying for the cost of the gym beyond the $25,000 deductible.

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