Water damage closes main gym floor at Westwood Sr.
School board in talks with roofing contractor
TIt’s considered the “new gym” at Westwood Sr. High School in Hudson, but it has been closed to students and staff since September.
he more than 10-year-old wooden gymnasium floor in a newer section of the school is being totally replaced after water damaged several large floor sections, as well as portions of the ceiling above.
The installation of a brand new floor and work to repair the ceiling began about two weeks ago.
Crews have pulled double shifts when possible, according to school principal Sheila Honeyborne.
Barring any unforeseen delays, the newly refurbished gym is expected to be open to the school’s 700 plus student body by the end of December.
But who is going to pay an estimated $125,000 to $200,000 bill for the work remains to be seen.
Carol Heffernan, Assistant Director General for the Lester B. Pearson School Board, said the board is in talks with a contractor whose crew was replacing a portion of the roof over the gym around the time the leak occurred.
A crew from the school board inspected the damage after several portions of the floor were thoroughly soaked. The crew later said a large amount of water had been collecting in the ceiling for a while before it was released in a rush onto the floor.
Though the water was evacuated as soon as possible, portions of the wooden floor had to be cut away in order to determine the extent of the damage.
There was also a concern about the formation of mould, though board and school officials believe a timely cleanup averted the possibility. No mould testing was ever done. Heffernan says they think water came in through exposed sections of the roof that were left open to the elements when the roof was being redone in late August and early September.
“The contractor had not finished the job and (that) section took longer to finish than we first thought,” Heffernan explained.
Because of the potential danger to students - from the missing sections of floor - it was decided to close the gymnasium entirely. The loss of the main gym has meant physical education classes, intramural and after school sports are being held in the school’s old gym.
Getting use of the primary gymnasium back can’t come soon enough, Honeyborne said.
Calling the school’s physical education staff “real troopers” for their flexibility and creativity, Honeyborne said the teachers have rolled with the punches.
“The newer gym was large enough to accommodate two classes at the same time,” she said, adding, “The older gym is almost 100 years old and is much smaller, so it’s been more difficult.”
Honeyborne hopes unseasonably warm weather, which has allowed teachers to offer outdoor fitness classes, will continue until the new floor is ready.
On the upside, once the new hardwood floor is installed, it will be painted to include the Westwood Wildcats logo at its centre. The old floor did not have a logo.
“The teachers and coaches asked about that and I said ‘why not,’ that’s something good that’s going to come out of all this,” Honeyborne said.