Cassville completes repairs from main break

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rock Gym, central office get brand new look

More than a year after a water main break at the J.C. Duncan Gymnasium, also known as the Rock Gym, the Cassville school district has received a $282,117 check from its insurance company.

In January 2014, a bout of cold weather caused an old water line to freeze and bust.

What followed was significant flooding in the gym floor, central office, an old locker and storage room and the main gym area, leading to the more than $200,000 in damage and forcing the district's hand on a renovation.

The old rock-covered building dates back to 1935, has been used for generations of school children, still being used by children in the intermediate school. As a result of the flooding, the school had major repairs and renovations to make that beckoned patience and called for staff and students to adjust.

Superintendent Richard Asbill said during the renovations, the central office was moved to another building and the P.E. rooms were relocated to the Cassville FEMA Event Center, among other relocations of some offices.

"Through that process, we had an 11-month insurance claim abatement we had to go through, and we finally finished that out," Asbill said.

After the flooding, the school filed a claim with the Missouri United School Insurance Cooperative, an insurance company that represents over 200 school districts, paying a $1,000 deductible to start the claim.

"We used all of the money to make the needed repairs, with nothing left over, but ended up spending an additional $50,000 [within what we had budged] that was not included in the insurance check to make other needed repairs," Asbill said.

He said the $50,000 was used to replace the windows in the rock gym, and to renovate the south wall. Asbill said the old windows were from the 1970s, and the new ones are mirrored to block out the light and help save on energy costs. Part of the repairs also included installing air conditioning in the old gym, which previously only had large fans to keep the gym cool.

"We had about 36 windows replaced," Asbill said. "Then, the south wall needed sealing and new gym mats on the wall so that when students were playing sports they would run into a soft mat instead of the rock wall."

Asbill said the insurance company helped the district successfully deal with and resolve the issue.

"They understand school business and our needs," he said. "It could have been storm damage, fire, or whatever it is. They know our needs and mindset, so they do a very good job of meeting them."

School staff say they have grown fond of the newly-remodeled central office.

"I love it," said Stacey Williams, secretary. "It's a more professional and business atmosphere."

She also thinks the new board room is a definite improvement and more conducive to holding meetings with the additional four feet that was added.

Lori Banks, in accounts payable, agrees.

"The old board room was a very small room, so 20 people would be really jam-packed in there. But now, you can put 40-50 in there and there's room to walk around. The floors are even, and you don't feel like you're going to hit your head with the higher ceilings.

"The old central office building had really old paneling from floor to ceiling, and I think when people walked in it was really ugly. And it also had an old musty smell. Now, we don't have that, and we even have a men's and women's bathroom, and a lot more storage space."

Banks said the first impressions among visitors show the remodel was a success.

"It's a lot nicer place when people walk into it now," she said. "It's not just an old building. It's a really nice, updated place, and when they walk in, they say how nice it is."

Banks said the walls were painted a golden color, with a glaze that emphasizes the modernized texture, and the drywall work and painting was done by local contractors. The new building also has a full kitchen, which Banks said makes it much easier for staff to prepare and serve food for various meetings and functions. The old building only had a sink and a microwave. Now, staff have a refrigerator, dishwasher, stove and serving area to utilize.

Even school maintenance staff were involved in the renovations in the central office. The school also used another area company, Controlled Technology and Solutions Group, for the boardroom and other repairs last summer, including sidewalks and the electrical system. A company called Jared Enterprises replaced the rock gym floor.

Banks, who attended Cassville school as an elementary student, remembers walking into the same gym and seeing old wooden bleachers all the way around it, and remembers the old floor.

"The floor now is different but beautiful and gives the whole gym a brand new look," she said. "What we've heard is the children want to have their games and practices in there. It's nothing like what it used to be."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: