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Centennial Arts Academy gym to get new roof, floor
Rain over holidays caused wood floor to buckle
Daeon Neal, 5, and Susie-Charlene Brewer, 7, chat inside the Centennial Arts Academy gymnasium, which school officials voted to fix because of buckling from water damage after a pipe burst recently. The gym will be closed for 60 days as the work is completed.

The school gym at Centennial Arts Academy in Gainesville is soon to receive much-needed repairs.

The Gainesville City Board of Education voted to fast-track the redesign and replacement of the gym’s roof and wood flooring at a called meeting Thursday afternoon.

A leak in the gym’s roof over the holidays resulted in severe buckling of the wooden floorboards under the leak.

"It happened on Jan. 1, when we had the rain," said Keith Vincent, director of maintenance and operations. "Of course we were out of school so three days later we found it."

The board voted to fast-track bidding on the project and to advance funds for the project with the intent to be reimbursed by SPLOST funds.

Board Chairwoman Maria Calkins said the timing of the repairs is the "kicker."

The project is estimated to take 60 days. During that time the gym would be inaccessible to students. The school’s stage and restrooms frequently used by its kindergarten classes are inside the gym.

The board asked parents and stakeholders if they would prefer to wait until the summer to begin the project.

Stakeholders at the meeting supported starting as soon as possible rather than waiting.

"I’m so pleased you are going forward and taking care of the roof," said Laura Sumner, a parent at the school for the last nine years.

The redesign of the roof will help water run off faster by allowing rain to flow into gutters rather than collecting on the roof.

The warped floor will be removed while the roof is replaced. Since the work on the ceiling will involve some welding, the new wood floor will not be installed until after the roof is completed.

The roof replacement is estimated to cost about $63,000; the wood flooring will cost an estimated $56,450.

The board voted on Jan. 22 to replace the flooring with vinyl composition tile instead of wood. The tiles were selected because they seemed to be a more cost-effective material to use until the roof could be repaired.

"We voted on the 22nd to go ahead and install the VCT tile because we didn’t want to put the wood floors back in as long as we had the leakage problem," board member Delores Diaz said. "The problem is more than just a leak. The whole roof needs to be redesigned. So we didn’t want to install the wood floors until we fixed the problem."

After learning more about the maintenance costs associated with the tile flooring and the risk of losing the warranty on the floor, the board reconsidered.

"We found a way fiscally that we can find the funding and go ahead and do the roof first and then go ahead and do the (wooden) floor," Calkins said.

Another Gainesville elementary school, Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy, will also have its gym roof repaired. The metal and insulation for its roof will be replaced to prevent the ceiling from sweating.

The work at Enota will not start until summer.