WEST JEFFERSON — About 2:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 5, Ashe County Schools Superintendent Phyllis Yates thought high winds might cause a two-hour delay or potentially a full cancelation. She did not expect the roof to be lifted off of the Ashe County High School gym.
“That high school’s over 20 years old,” Yates said. “When it was initially built, the way you put on a flat roof was with glue. Well over 20 years, that glue begins to rot. The wind got under a corner of it, and since that glue was so rotten, it got under the whole thing.”
Yates said the roof’s lifting hurt the drain pipes attached to it. The lifting broke some of the drain pipes, which fell through to the gym. Luckily, the bleachers had not been put back after a recent basketball game, catching the debris and protecting the recently re-done floors.
Yates said there were too many things that also could’ve been going wrong around the county to have school, so the day was canceled.
Almost immediately, the school’s maintenance department got in contact with companies willing to help. B & G Plumbing and Northwest Roofing came over and worked until past 9 p.m. to fix the problems in the gym. Yates said the two companies left other jobs to come help the school. She added there were some additional leaks after the companies were finished, but they were taken care of quickly.
The school’s auditorium was not able to be fixed in a timely manner. Yates said additional things such as catwalks added to the complexity and kept them from completing the job.
Also damaged at the school was an outfield building at the baseball diamond. Yates and Ashe County High School Athletic Director David Koontz both said there should be no problems with using the gym for the current athletic schedule, which includes a basketball match-up with Watauga High School Friday, Dec. 13.
Yates said there was no estimated cost of the repairs as of presstime, with the school’s insurance representatives coming to Ashe this week to figure it out.