WENDELL • As students exercised Wednesday inside Wendell High School’s gymnasium, signs of water damage weren’t far away.
Due to a leaky roof, ceiling tiles are stained. Some floor boards are cracked. Outside, paint is peeling away.
The building doesn’t have air conditioning and the heating system isn’t reliable.
“This is kind of where we have our horror show going on – in this gym,” district maintenance supervisor Ken Pressley said.
If the gym roof isn’t replaced soon, it will affect the structural integrity of the building, he said.
Last week, Wendell voters rejected a $3.1 million federal facilities bond - which carried 0 percent interest - to pay for building projects.
The repairs need to be made, so school officials plan to try again during the August election. Superintendent Greg Lowe said they haven’t decided what kind of ballot measure to pursue – a plant facilities levy or bond.
Voters will decide in May whether to renew the district’s two-year, $155,000 annual supplemental levy to help with basic operating expenses.
The Wendell school board talked for two hours Tuesday night about the next steps.
Some community members aren’t well informed about the district’s facility needs, school board chairwoman Gay Petersen said Wednesday. “That’s something that’s a big concern.”
Also, a big part of the bond proposal was to use some money to create a long-term building maintenance fund, Lowe said.
Unlike many surrounding school districts, Wendell doesn’t have a plant facilities levy to pay for building projects.
The state has cut down on maintenance funding, Petersen said. The district uses what money there is for basic costs such as buying trash bags and filling potholes with gravel.
In recent years, voters supported a couple of bonds for Wendell school projects, including for a new elementary school and supplemental levy renewal.
As Wendell High students walked outside between classes Wednesday, Lowe pointed out protective coating coming off the school’s roof.
If repairs aren’t made to the 21-year-old steel roof, it will start to rust, Pressley said.
As for the gym roof, the temporary solution has been patching. “We pretty much run from leak to leak.”
The gym needs a new roof and furnace system, Lowe said.
“This whole building is a challenge,” Petersen added, and it needs to be saved before it “falls in.”
The main issue with the high school parking lot is engineering, Pressley said, since it doesn’t drain and floods easily.
Some Wendell High students refer to it as “Lake Trojan” – a nod to the school’s mascot. On particularly rainy days, water seeps into a nearby locker room.
Potholes are visible and the lot has never been graded, Pressley said. Options for the parking lot include putting in asphalt, gravel or chip sealing.