Park Middle School Gym Closed, Awaiting Engineer’s Report | State and region


School officials in Raleigh County are awaiting an engineer’s report on the Park Middle School gymnasium, but for now, the facility remains closed to student activities.

The gymnasium has been closed since the start of the school year, Park’s parents reported. Student-athletes use gymnasiums in other schools.

Physical education teachers Derek Franklin and Marissa Sevy recently said they didn’t notice any unsafe conditions in the gym last year and were unaware that there was a problem with the gymnasium.

“We haven’t really, necessarily, noticed anything, ourselves,” Sevy said.

The school administration informed them at the end of the 2020-2021 school year that the gymnasium would not be used when the school reopened.

“It was tough, but we tried to make the most of it as much as possible,” Franklin said. “Like the weather, the first half, was away, we’ve kind of been away as much as possible.”

He said they babysit the kids on the athletic field and plan games, while maintaining appropriate social distancing.

Raleigh Schools Superintendent David Price said based on the engineer’s report, crews need to repair the current gymnasium or build a new one.

“Structurally, we don’t even know if it can be fixed,” Price reported. “We have no idea at this time what steps we are going to need to take.

“Once we have that, we can decide what steps there are for the gym and what we can do.”

Sevy and Franklin said they didn’t have a preference.

“As long as the school has a gymnasium, it doesn’t matter if it gets fixed or a new one (is) built,” Sevy said. “As long as the kids have a gym to use for school and sports, that’s all that matters.”

Several engineering companies, sent by the State Insurance and Risk Management Board (BRIM), have examined the damage to the gymnasium and will inform school officials of the cause of the structural problems.

The cost of any potential repairs or the cost of building a new gymnasium is not yet available.

Engineers will submit their reports to BRIM, which will issue a report for Raleigh schools, Price said.

He said he hopes to hear from the engineers within the next 30 days.

Price met with the school principal, Dr Joel Harris, to update him on the process, he said.

He added that the school district is paying to have two elevators installed at Park Middle.


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