High school gym work nears completion; re-opening event set for Dec. 20

by Kate Evans

Berkeley Springs High School Building C gymnasium building renovations are in their final stages.

A gymnasium grand re-opening ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, December 20 at 4 p.m. It will be followed by an open house with public tours conducted by high school National Honor Society members.

Morgan County School Superintendent Erich May said a short program is being planned with remarks by school and district leaders and performances by the Berkeley Springs High School band and chorus.

Berkeley Springs High School gymnasium building.

Practices, tournament

May said that the gymnasium wood floor is finished and felt confident that sports practices would be resuming in the gymnasium building on Monday, December 3. Teams have been practicing at Warm Springs Middle School, Rankins and Widmyer Elementary.

Morgan County Schools Maintenance Director Jamie Harris said Sunday evening that the tentative plan was for the Berkeley Springs High School winter teams to start practicing Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. in the gym. As of now the girls and boys basketball teams and the wrestling team will be the only programs to practice in the new gym.

The locker rooms are finished and the teams can use them for practice, Harris said. Construction crews will work to take care of some cleanup and other minor details that still need done during this week.

The fire marshal will give the final word early this week on whether the 34th Max Horz wrestling tournament can be held at the high school gym this Friday and Saturday, Harris said. If it’s a go, it will be the first athletic competition to be held in the new gym. If not, the tournament will be held at the Warm Springs Middle School gymnasium and cafeteria with rearranged start times on Friday.

“We are very excited for the teams to start using the gym and look forward to everyone’s thoughts on the facility once they get out on the court and in the locker rooms. We hope that everyone can stop by the Max Horz tournament to see the gym and then come back on December 20 to take the tour and see the finished product,” Harris said.

Bleacher glitch

The new bleachers were delivered in the wrong shade of blue but are currently being used while they’re waiting for the navy blue bleachers to arrive and be installed by mid-December, May said. That’s one reason why the date for the grand opening was pushed back to December 20 instead of the original planned date of December 13.

Finishing work

Some exterior and interior work still needs completed before the grand opening, including the cream-colored exterior insulation and finishing system (EIFS) that’s above the brick in places, May said. Insulation is installed with a drainage plane over the plywood base before the stucco paneling is applied. Tarps keep the areas at the appropriate temperature for contractors to install the materials.

Other work that’s also wrapping up is installation of the vinyl composition tile in the lobby and completion of the plumbing and tile in the lobby’s public restrooms.

May said contractors worked from the back of the building out to the front during the project. Some project landscaping and parking lot work won’t take place until spring.

Other incidentals such as new storage cabinets and new trophy cases will be purchased to use up the last of the project funds once they see how the final budget looks. The renovations project is still under budget but they’re coming into the punch list phase where “you don’t know what’s going to happen,” he stressed.

Contractors are working through the list of change orders, which are natural in a renovations project of this size, May said. Sometimes construction products are no longer available or a subcontractor prefers to use other products.

One of the biggest project change orders was the Building C roof installation, which is complete. May said it was possible due to the project coming in more than $500,000 under budget.