Gainesville High School’s gymnasium sustained damage when a rainstorm led to water from a neighboring property flowing into the building.
A rush of water, suspected to have come from the adjacent Joyland Child Development Center, was too much for the school’s drainage system to handle. It seeped through the door and walls of the gym, running underneath the basketball court floor and throughout the building. The water was discovered in the building July 23.
At a called Gainesville school board meeting Thursday, board members voted to notify Joyland of the damage and the possibility of future damage.
“The fear is, though, now that the floor has been deemed safe and OK, is that a year from now that analysis is wrong,” insurance agent Bob Norton said. “The problem with wood floors is that, over time, the moisture beneath the wood floors makes it start to cup up on each individual board. So you’re going to have some curling, which you obviously can’t do on a basketball court.”
The assumption, Norton said, is that the construction at Joyland months ago is what led to the natural flow of water being diverted to the school’s property. He said that it’s still “undetermined” exactly how the water got into the building.
He pointed out that the school needed to take a look at its drainage system, but said that the “root cause of the problem” was the water flowing from Joyland’s property.
While a final tally has not been established yet, Norton expects the current repair total to be well under the school’s flood insurance deductible of $50,000. If the floor ends up being damaged, the final total would be much more.
Gainesville city officials are currently investigating whether or not Joyland should have had a permit for the work that had been done.
“I am planning to get together with the city’s public works director to figure out if there have been any violations that have occurred,” said Rusty Ligon, director of community development.
Ligon said that any land disturbance over 1 acre requires a total land disturbance permit. Anything under 1 acre does not require a permit, but one is still suggested, he said.
Norton and school board members expressed concerns over the immediacy of the problem.
“My concern is that this can get dragged out when the ground is saturated now,” said Maria Calkins, board chairwoman. “It’s an issue now. We’re in an unprecedented weather situation with so much water.”
Norton agreed. “Anything that falls now is surface water,” he said. “The ground can’t absorb anymore.”
A Joyland representative could not be reached for comment.