Kenmore girls basketball coach Yontami Jones looked forward to a home-court advantage for last week’s sectional tournament game against Springfield.
Then the roof over her high school’s gym opened up and washed away her hopes.
“We really wanted to play here, being the higher seed,” Jones said of traveling to Springfield, where Kenmore squeaked out a 58-54 victory.
Jones has been working with boys basketball coach Brian Dawson to ensure each team has use of the high school’s old gym while district administrators decide what to do about leaks in the newer gym, built in 1980.
Sports teams aren’t the only ones adjusting.
Jones, a physical education teacher, watched over a class Tuesday afternoon. Because of safety concerns and a half-dozen trash cans collecting water in the newer gym, her students can’t reach the locker rooms to change clothes. So they exercise in jeans and sweatshirts.
“We just wish that roof was fixed,” Jones said.
The leaky roof at Kenmore hasn’t caught anyone by surprise, although curious students periodically peek inside to see what the fuss is about. Repairs have been put off as school officials await the final sale of city bonds that would allow the district to cement the last plans for its districtwide construction project.
Until then, Facilities Director Paul Flesher said the district will make do.
“We try to extend the life, waiting for the final disposition of the master plan, but with the [cold] weather and the age of the roof, there comes a point when we have to say, ‘We have to do something right now. We can’t wait any longer.’ ”
The plan is to get an engineer out to Kenmore to examine the leaks and estimate the repair, much like a $375,000 plan to replace four leaky sections of roof at North High School.
Kenmore, and then North, originally were planned to host the City Series boys championship basketball game Friday. The event has been moved to Garfield.
“We were really excited about having the city championship here,” Kenmore Principal Gini Rasnick said, looking up at the metal sheeting above the gym. “Then everything began to unfold. ... It has been awhile since we hosted anything big.”
Custodians periodically mop the gym floor at Kenmore and, at one point, had spread trash cans beneath 12 different leaks, which should flow heavily throughout today with above-freezing temperatures and heavy rain expected.
From the rooftop, the leaks are hidden beneath a blanket of thick, melting snow. Beneath that snow is a layer of gravel spread across tar, which has shrunk and cracked in record-low temperatures this winter.
Flesher said slapping more tar over the cracks doesn’t address the saturated insulation below it. And if workers can find each leak, patching one spot merely forces water to find another way through.
“We’ll have roofs in our older building which will have periodic leaks,” he said, “but not to the extent that we have at North and Kenmore. It’s not unusual, but at a certain point in time, it limits returns on repairs.”
Repairs for North are in the bid process. Flesher expects to have Kenmore and North repaired for volleyball season in the fall, but only with a “short-term” fix, he said.
Kenmore, North and Garfield, along with Roswell Kent, Ellet, Case, Pfeiffer, Firestone Park, Bettes and Miller South schools, are “on the list” for partial remodeling or total reconstruction, under the districtwide plan, Flesher said. What is in store for each building won’t be announced until the district knows how much money it has to work with.
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or email@example.com.