terça-feira, 4 de dezembro de 2007

Board may repair gym roof

Bryan Fontenot remembers dribbling a basketball around a set of cones in the Grand Prairie Elementary School gymnasium.
That was more than 30 years ago when he was in the fifth grade, and the school's gym was relatively new.

Fontenot is much older now and so is Grand Prairie Elementary's gym, where he now teaches physical education at the pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school.

He said much of the gym is in good condition except for its corroded, leaking tin roof that needs to be repaired to prevent students from slipping on a wet floor.
And Fontenot is not the only person who believes the roof is a potential hazard. A request to refurbish the gymnasium's roof is on the table Wednesday at a St. Landry Parish School Board's Buildings, Lands and Sites committee meeting.

The committee will meet at 2 p.m. in the St. Landry Parish School Board office to discuss the request and also to decide whether to recommend architects begin the process to bid large Qualified Zone Academy Bond projects.

Rusty Moody, assistant superintendent of operations, said Grand Prairie's roofing project is separate from the school system's QZAB priority projects.

Grand Prairie Elementary's gymnasium did not make the final QZAB priority list, he said.

"We only had so much money to spend on QZAB so you had to prioritize," Moody said.

Funding to fix the roof will come from the school system's general fund pending approval from U.S. District Court Judge Tucker Melancon, he said. The project will be bided out for the lowest price.

A project like the one at the Grand Prairie roughly could cost $100,000, Moody said.

That equals to about $273.23 per student.

Grand Prairie Principal Francis Richard said all 366 students at the school use the gymnasium.

The problem is so bad that workers cannot walk on the roof to patch it because they would just leave more holes, he said.

That's why the request to redo roofing for the school's gymnasium is on the table Wednesday.

Like other parish schools, Band-Aid solutions have been used to patch leaks. Pieces of tin were overlaid on the roof to patch holes in Grand Prairie Elementary's gym, Fontenot and Richard said. But, they never held for long.

"The roof has done its time," Fontenot said.

Richard said a basketball game had to be stopped during a rainstorm last year when water leaked on the floor.

"We had to stop the game and put buckets down during the worst of the storm," Richard said.

Fontenot has similar tales. He can point out locations in the gym where garbage cans have been placed to catch rainwater.

He said girls have to place their clothes on top of a bench in their locker room to keep their possessions dry.

To add to the school's problems, insulation has fallen from the ceiling, Fontenot said.

He said he fears water will cause the tiles in the gym to buckle and expose asbestos in the floor.

The men said they will not go as far as saying the school's problem is worse than any other.

"Funding is always what controls everything," Richard said. "You try to fix the worse things with the funding you have available."

Moody said workers went to the school two week ago to repatch the nearly 11,600 square feet, tin roof, but there was too much damage.

"We couldn't guarantee that it wouldn't leak," he said. "The roof in the gym needs to be replaced."

If the committee approves the request, it will go to the full board for approval Thursday.

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