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Severe storm damage leaves WC basketball in limbo

[6/29/04]A sign taped to the wall in front of Warren Central’s gym let visitors know that the gym would be closed from July 15-21 to “finish the gym floor.”

“I guess it will take a few days longer than that,” WC girls basketball coach Donny Fuller said Monday.

A violent storm ripped away parts of the WC gym roof Sunday, flooded the floor with about two inches of water and left broken glass and insulation littering the playing surface. Standing water was still visible Monday afternoon, but it could not be pumped away because power had not yet returned to the building.

In addition, a portion of midcourt had begun to warp and a large part of the floor behind one of the goals had already buckled.

Initial estimates were near $1 million to repair both the roof and floor.

“We won’t know anything for sure for a while,” Fuller said. “It’s possible they may have to replace the roof and the floor. They can’t do anything with the floor, though, until they fix the roof.”

Several large pieces of the gym roof were ripped away and landed on the roof of the main school building, many times dislodging huge air conditioning units from their base.

The gym took the brunt of the damage, but other athletic facilities at WC were damaged as well.

Several pieces of vinyl siding were ripped from the softball press box and were lying yards behind second base about 100 feet from the building.

Outfield sponsorship signs were torn loose from the fence and debris littered the playing field.

WC football coach Curtis Brewer said the football fieldhouse did not sustain any damage, but a ticket booth that sits near the stadium was overturned.

The girls fieldhouse, located adjacent to the softball pressbox, did not appear to sustain any damage.

The gym, though, took the brunt of the storm.

Warren Central has a second, smaller gym in the “B” building and Fuller said his team and WC’s boys team may have to share that gym for the time being. With practice starting in October and the season scheduled to begin in November, Fuller was uncertain as to what would happen if the gym is not repaired by then.

“We have a lot of faith in our maintenance crews,” Fuller said. “They do a fantastic job and I know they’ll do everything they can.”

The floor of the 40-year-old building has never been replaced. Several years ago, the floor was sanded down to its base, then refinished.

Earlier in the year, a small leak in the northeast corner forced maintenance crews to affix a tarp to catch the water, but Fuller said the roof was fixed following the season and was not a problem.