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Water leak destroys floor of Mount Abe gym; repair work begins

By GAEN MURPHREE
BRISTOL — At an emergency meeting last Wednesday, the Mount Abraham Union High School board authorized Superintendent Patrick Reen to contract with vendors to repair a water leak and replace the MAUHS gym floor.
“We have water that is leaking under the gym floor at Mount Abe and it has ruined the floor,” Reen told the Independent.
“We’re working to simultaneously do two things,” he explained. “We have to get the old floor torn up, which will hopefully give us a sense of where the water might be coming from. And simultaneously, we’re doing some other things to try and identify the source of the water.”
The Independent spoke with Reen Friday afternoon as work was scheduled to begin to tear out the floor.
“I think (Facilities Director Alden Harwood) is probably there right now working to get a sense of what’s going on with the water leak. They’re bringing in contractors to dispense with that,” Reen said.
“I’m pretty optimistic. The emergency board meeting helped us with the timeline. We have the green light to go ahead and do what we need to do to take care of this. Obviously a water leak can continue to create problems.”
Reen said there were no signs of damage when the floor was sealed over the summer. But around mid-September “some slight issues near the girls’ locker room were noticed and people started inquiring about what’s going on but nothing significant.” Then in the past week, he said, “damage has really spread across much more of the gym, which has made it much more noticeable.”
From here on out several things will need to happen, he explained. Once the floor is up, the crew will try to identify the source of the leak while the concrete and the rest of the area dries out. Then once the source of the leak is identified and repaired and the area is sufficiently dry, a new floor will be installed.
The cost of a new floor is estimated at $130,000, Reen said, but without knowing the source of the water it was impossible on Friday to estimate the cost of fixing the leak.
In the meantime, the gym is off limits to events and physical education classes. Reen said that Principal Jessica Barewicz, lead PE teacher Dustin Corrigan and Athletic Director Devin Wendel are working together to coordinate gym classes in other locales and to reschedule events.
Estimates are that work will be completed within “six or seven weeks if everything goes well. That puts us in just ahead of the basketball season but that’s if the timeline goes well,” said Reen. “Without having identified the source of the water yet, it’s hard to really be super certain that it would be able to be addressed that quickly. But, again, we are optimistic.”
Mount Abe Union High School was built in the late 1960s and has not undergone substantial renovation.
In November 2014, Addison Northeast Supervisory Union voters turned down a $32.6 million bond to renovate the then-47-year-old structure. The proposal had been put forward by a Mount Abraham Facility Advisory Committee, made up of residents, board members, school officials and students.
Reporter Gaen Murphree is reached at [email protected].

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