GARDINER — The gymnasium at Gardiner Area High School does not appear to have sustained structural damage despite a large section of its roof being ripped up by Monday’s heavy wind.

On Tuesday, roofers pulled the roof membrane, about one-third of which had blown off and landed on the remaining section of roof during a massive wind and rain storm the previous day, back into place, and patched holes as a temporary fix until a new membrane can be installed.

Gabe Dostie, operations director for School Administrative District 11, said an initial assessment with roofers from G&E Roofing indicated neither the roof itself nor the walls below it sustained structural damage. Officials were concerned initially that the roof or even the entire gymnasium could have been damaged structurally when the membrane and a piece of rooftop ventilation equipment were blown from their perches.

“The roof structure seems fine,” Dostie said Tuesday inside the gymnasium as roofers worked on the roof above. “Everything is looking as good as it could, at least.”

Dostie said he hopes a new roof membrane can be installed, as a longer-term fix, before winter arrives.

It remains to be seen when students will be able to resume using the gymnasium, known as the James A. Bragoli Memorial Gym.

Water that poured into the building through a gaping hole left when the ventilation equipment was torn off the roof with the membrane during the storm may have damaged the gymnasium floor. At the height of the storm, Dostie said, it was raining as much inside the building, through the damaged roof, as it was outside. About 2 inches of water covered the gymnasium floor and a crew worked to remove as much of the water as possible as fast as they could, though without electricity their options were limited. The wettest, hardest-hit part of the floor is near a basketball hoop on one end of the gymnasium, where Dostie said the floor might have warped. He plans to meet with flooring company officials this week to assess whether the floor can be saved and put back into use.

While Dostie is hopeful the gymnasium will be able to be used, with the old roof membrane patched and pulled back into place temporarily and anchored down with paving blocks, in the meantime before a new membrane can be installed, the space can’t be used if the floor was damaged too badly.

If SAD 11, which didn’t have school Tuesday because of lingering power outages at some of its schools, has school Wednesday, no students will be allowed into the gymnasium. The rest of the high school building is safe, Dostie said, and students also will be able to use the locker rooms, which are adjacent to the gymnasium.

“There will be no classes in (the gymnasium) tomorrow,” he said Tuesday. “The rest of the building is safe. We got power and internet back this morning.”

The return of electricity to the high school allowed fans to be put in the gymnasium to help dry the floor. Workers also used a floor-cleaning machine to vacuum up water.

Flashing from the edge of the roof also was removed by the wind, leaving a gap of several inches between the roof and a wall on one side of the brick building. That gap was covered up by roofers Tuesday.

Water also got onto the gymnasium walls and bleachers and some of the sports banners that hang on the walls.

Officials said it isn’t yet known what effect the gymnasium problems could have on the approaching winter sports season, including basketball.

Athletic Director Steve Ouellette said he hadn’t had any conversations yet with other school officials about the gymnasium, other than knowing it was being worked on, and declined to discuss what steps could be taken if the gymnasium can’t be used.

“Not much you can do with Mother Nature,” Ouellette said Tuesday. “We’ll see what happens. We have to make an assessment, make a determination to see where we stand with it and what we can do to get it ready for the next sports season.”

Dostie said a volleyball tournament scheduled for this weekend probably will not take place in the gymnasium.

The high school gymnasium was a designated shelter for the area, but, without a roof, it was not used as a shelter Tuesday. District officials said Gardiner Regional Middle School was opened as a shelter Tuesday during the day, and residents and staff members were allowed to use showers and electricity, there.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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