Ferriday Gym Repairs Under Way

FERRIDAY — A water-damaged gym floor forced Some students at Ferriday Junior High School students to trade PE for health started health classes, at least temporarily early this year after the new gym’s floor was damaged.

But the costly job of repairing the damaged floor should be finished in a few weeks.

The new gym was constructed to replace the junior high’s old gym, and was completed in mid-July.

But later that month, Glenn Henderson, Concordia Parish’s supervisor of transportation and maintenance, said a group of students got in to playing in the gym and accidentally broke a sprinkler head beneath the bleachers, causing water to come out and flood the floor.

“The kids were just playing and ran where they weren’t supposed to run,” Henderson said.

In a past interview in July, Tom O’Neal, Concordia Parish School Board director of business affairs, said the sprinkler heads were located under the bleachers because of safety requirements. O’Neal also said the children were not in the gym illegally and the damage was a result of “carelessness with a sprinkler system.”

The broken sprinkler head r, Henderson said the water ran for approximately 45 minutes, Henderson said, before the maintenance department was notified and they could get it off.

The water, however, had already started spreading.

“It had gone underneath the whole floor,” Henderson said.

Because of the damage, Henderson said the entire floor had to be taken up approximately a week before school started.

“We didn’t want mold to set up in any portion,” Henderson said.

Superintendent Paul Nelson said it was estimated it would take $100,000 to fix.

“Wooden floors are expensive,” Henderson said.

Henderson said he hopes the gym will be ready in two to three weeks.

With the gym out of commission and thus putting a damper on PE classes that meet there, the school juggled its schedule a bit to avoid the gym.

Ferriday Junior High School Principal Toyua Watson said students are taking health classes earlier this year in place of PE.“In middle school, all students have to go through at least five to six weeks of health,” Watson said.

Usually, Watson said, the girls have health first and the boys have it later. Now, Watson said the two are taking health at the same time while the gym is repaired.

Watson said Ferriday Upper Elementary School allowed the Junior High to use two classrooms so boys and girls could be educated separately.

“The rooms that we’re using are right at the end of the building,” Watson said, explaining this allows separation between junior high and elementary students.

If work on the gym is still underway when health class wraps up, Watson said the school has a plan.

“We may have to shift their (PE teachers) plans and start out with some of the outside activities after the six weeks,” Watson said.

Watson isn’t concerned about having activities outside though, since it will be fall soon.

“The temperature will be a little better,” Watson said.

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