The Gardiner Area High School boys and girls basketball teams will be on the move for at least a large part of this winter season, due to damage the gymnasium sustained during the storm that hit Oct. 29 and 30 and left much of the state without power.

According to athletic director Steve Ouellette, the storm, which ripped a hole in the gym’s roof and allowed heavy rain to pour in, caused enough damage to the floor that playing basketball there became impractical, and school director of maintenance Gabe Dostie said repairs could take through the season to be finished.

“The gym floor is not in good shape,” Ouellette said. “It’s not in shape for us to be able to play basketball. It’s not the entire floor, but it’s probably the biggest area where it sustained water damage.”

The hole is patched up temporarily, Ouellette and Dostie said, and though there was some superficial damage to the inside of the building, a pair of engineers that examined the gym said it is structurally sound and safe for the public — enough so that Ouellette said he is hoping to keep the annual Tiger Invitational wrestling tournament there in December.

According to Ouellette, however, the engineers determined that the roof and floor will need to be replaced, which Dostie said will be a lengthy process.

“The roof could be done in a couple of weeks, but the gym floor, a lot of that has to go with scheduling,” he said. “These companies that do the refinishing and new gym floors, they’re busy certain times of the year when they can get into colleges, certain places like that. So those times, say, Christmas break, Thanksgiving break, those times are already booked up. So it’s going to be some time after that.”

Dostie and Ouellette said they won’t have an idea of how long the repairs will take or how expensive they’ll be until they hear from contractors and insurance providers.

“The insurance companies and the contractors have to set a timeline. They’re the ones that will determine when they can begin,” Ouellette said.

Dostie, however, said the repairs could linger through the end of the basketball season.

“I really doubt if they’re going to be able to save the floor. I’m pretty sure it’s going to have to be ripped out and re-done,” said Dostie, who added that the floor won’t be repaired until the roof is finished. “Some of that would depend on the scheduling for the flooring contractor too. If they’re not able to get in here until after Christmas, I can’t see how they’re going to have much of a basketball season in the building.”

As a result, Ouellette has had to look elsewhere to accommodate the team with the winter season quickly approaching. He’s put together a practice schedule through Christmas break, utilizing Gardiner Regional Middle School, the district’s elementary schools and the Augusta Armory as hosts.

“It’s not going to be the most ideal situation, but we do have facilities that we can practice in,” he said. “People have been very good to us.”

As for games, Ouellette and Gardiner have had to get creative. The school has scheduled nine dates at the Augusta Civic Center, has worked with Cony, Erskine and Medomak Valley to turn the two matchups with each school into doubleheaders, and reached out to Winthrop, Messalonskee, Lewiston, Brunswick, Maranacook and Hall-Dale about playing home games at those schools during their off nights.

Once the varsity dates are set, Ouellette said, the focus will turn to rescheduling the sub-varsity games.

“We’re hoping that we can secure these dates at these different places within this next week so we can have a solid schedule before we start our preseason next week,” he said. “Some of these schools have been fantastic in trying to help us out.”

Ouellette said he’s spoken with the school’s varsity head coaches, Jason Cassidy for the boys and Mike Gray for the girls, and that both are on board with the prospect of a nomadic season.

“They totally understand what we’re dealing with, obviously,” Ouellette said. “As long as we get our varsity games in first, I think with the sub-varsities, we can fit those in at different places and different times. I think that’s going to work.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM