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Polson School Board declares emergency in effort to stabilize Linderman Gym

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POLSON — The Polson School District is moving forward with a plan to stabilize the south wall of the Linderman Gym. 

At last week’s school board meeting, Superintendent Rex Weltz explained that the goal is to remove the snow, ice and bricks that fell through the roof of the locker rooms on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 6, after a 3-foot parapet wall on the edge of the south roof of the gym collapsed under the weight of heavy snow. 

The current plan is to remove the south wall of the locker room area, which extends out from the south wall of the gym, so that the locker rooms can be cleared out. 

After the snow, ice and bricks are removed from the locker rooms, the plan is to do a structural assessment of the south wall of the gym, Weltz said. Once that assessment is complete, officials — including a structural engineer, architect and city codes employee — will decide what it will take to rebuild and at what cost. 

With that in mind, the board voted unanimously to declare an emergency and exempt the stabilization project from regular bidding rules. The action was taken in an effort to save time and get the gym sealed from the elements, he said, noting that the school district’s insurance company approved of the emergency declaration.

“It wouldn’t be my preference to tear it down,” he said of the gym, which he said was built in 1950. He said that officials will be looking at what a concrete pillar that holds up the south side of the gym roof looks like once the locker room area is removed. 

During the meeting, he noted that Swank Enterprises had removed the remainder of the brick parapet wall on the south end of the gym’s roof that had not collapsed. 

School maintenance staff put super-absorbent booms on a hallway floor between the locker rooms and the gym to prevent any seepage of water from melting ice and snow onto the gym’s wood floor. He said that drains in the floor of the locker rooms had helped drain some of the melting ice and snow, but plenty remained as of Monday, Jan. 15. 

Linderman Elementary Principal Kristin Wilson said after the meeting that school personnel had implemented some changes so that physical education and library classes could be held in existing classroom space. 

The school was working with First Presbyterian Church across the street to possibly hold some music classes there, she said. 

Polson High School Principal Scott Wilson said he was considering available options for where to hold graduation in June. Options include the football stadium, Polson Middle School and Salish Kootenai College, with time reserved at the latter location in case that option is selected. 

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