NED Intermediate gym closed indefinitelySeptember 9, 2021
By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
DUBOIS — After significant flooding Aug. 30, the Northeast Dubois Intermediate School gym is closed for at least the remainder of the school year.
As the Dubois community experienced extreme flooding that evening, the intermediate school saw extensive damage to its gym, basement and kitchen/cafeteria area. The Northeast Dubois County School Corporation announced Tuesday that the gym would be closed indefinitely after consulting with insurance and engineers from Universal Design.
“They’re still assessing all the damage and what they’re going to do, structurally,” Northeast Dubois Superintendent Bill Hochgesgang said, “so we’re kind of at a standstill. We’ll probably get some architects in to decide how we want to repair it and how we want it to be after, whether we want to make improvements or just put it back the way it was.”
That evening, floodwaters got into the intermediate school and filled the basement, reaching to the first floor. Hochgesang estimated 11 feet of water was in the school. The basement, which is about 8 feet tall at its lowest point, was full. Much of the basement and first floor were filled with mud and debris after the water drained out.
Crews with Serv Pro will be removing the gym floor starting this week. Athletic Director Terry Friedman is in the process of rescheduling and relocating games and activities that were planned in the gym for this school year.
All Northeast students were switched to e-learning Aug. 31. Students at the junior-senior high and elementary school returned to their classrooms Sept. 1, after the internet and phones were running again, but intermediate students continued e-learning until this Tuesday.
Damage to the cafeteria/kitchen area means that part of the school is closed, too. Repairs could cost a couple hundred thousand dollars, Hochgesang said.
“It’s cleaned out, at this point,” he said. “So they’ll start fixing that back up relatively soon. It’ll definitely be some long term plans for that, as well.”
Now that the intermediate students are back in school, they will be eating lunch in their classrooms for a while. The corporation provided breakfasts and lunches to intermediate students last week to take home.
Although it’ll be a long journey to repairing the school, Hochgesang said, the most important thing is that the students are safe and back to in-person learning.
“They’re doing well, making the most of the difficult situation we have,” he said. “It’s going to take a while, but we’re doing OK.”
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