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Gainesville High gym still presents water drainage worries

Work to be done to fix problem

POSTED: January 10, 2014 12:18 a.m.

Gainesville High's Jay Gaudlock practices in the school's gymnasium shortly after classes. In August 2013, the gym sustained some damage after heavy rainfall led to water flowing into the building.

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Drainage issues continue to plague the Gainesville High gym, but fixes being made over the next few weeks should prevent any future flooding problems.

The gym initially flooded in July 2013 when the drains around the building backed up and allowed water to seep through the door and walls, running underneath the basketball court floor and throughout the building.

It very nearly happened again over the winter break, when a soaking rain added more than four inches to the yearly rainfall total during the weekend before Christmas.

“We did have an issue — not a flood issue, but it built the water up pretty good,” Gainesville City Schools Director of Maintenance Adrian Niles said. “We had to go over (to the gym) and make sure that all the ... drains and everything were good so we did not get another flood.”

The drainage around the gym was backed up, which could have caused water to once again get inside the building. That’s a possibility Niles wants to erase from the school system’s list of concerns.

“With that rain happening, it just sped this up that we need to get that repaired once and for all,” he said, adding that Georgia typically experiences rainy weather during the first half of the year.

Niles said Chattahoochee Group Inc. will complete the work, which includes placing around 40 feet of piping in the ground to capture water. The company also will install two catch basins for surface water.

“And the piping and everything (will be) in the ground,” Niles said. “Right now we have a pipe exposed, on the outside, which brings us quite a bit of water.”

This should be it as far as fixing the drainage. A French drain, or a ditch filled with gravel, was placed in the area in September to alleviate the problem.

When the building flooded in July, the excess water was thought to have come from the adjacent property that belongs to Joyland Child Development Center.

Niles said the rainwater from a few weeks ago came from a neighboring property, but it was the school’s responsibility to capture it.

“(The water) drains in a natural pattern for that area,” he said.

While there were concerns over the summer that the gym floor might warp in the cold weather, that hasn’t been an issue so far this winter, Niles said. Also, the building has tested negatively for mold.

The upcoming drainage work, combined with the damages from July, come to around $15,000, which will come out of the school’s maintenance and operations budget.

Gainesville Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said roughly 46 percent of that budget has been spent.

“So we’re tracking very well there,” she said.

Dyer added some drainage issues around the high school’s cafeteria and parking lot were fixed during the 2012-13 school year, but the gym presented the only problems for this year.

“That’s the only one we’ve identified,” she said. “And with all the rain, surely we would know.”

The work will begin later this month; Niles said it could take up to two weeks. No traffic around the gym or high school should be affected.


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