By Travis Smola
Damage to Vicksburg high school’s gym bleachers in December wasn’t as bad as initially feared.
A human-error incident in December before the holiday break caused half the gym to be shut down. One set of bleachers had been retracted from the wall with the side basketball hoops still in a downward position.
Assistant Superintendent Steve Goss now says the accident caused approximately $25,000-30,000 in damage. Repair costs will be fully covered by the school’s insurance.
He also clarified more of what was done in the immediate aftermath of the incident. After being contacted, the bleacher maintenance company arrived within an hour to get the hoops loose and the stuck bleachers re-opened.
But due to concerns about the structural stability, the school officials decided to err on the side of caution and cancel a boys’ varsity basketball game that same evening. “We weren’t comfortable in our ability to keep people away from that area,” Goss said.
Since then, both the hoops and the seats removed to get the hoops loose have been repaired and the partition in the gym has been removed. The only damage involving the basketball hoops was to one of the retraction bars. Both will be able to be reused in the future.
Goss said most of the damage to the bleachers is also not as extensive as was first thought. They are still evaluating the underside structure and mechanics. This is where most of the damage occurred.
The bleachers will not be re-opened until the safety and usability of them can be certified. But Goss says right now, hopes are for repairs to be completed sometime in early February.
School officials are also concerned with making sure such an accident doesn’t happen again.
“Bleacher opening and closing protocols and safety interlock systems will be re-evaluated and updated to prevent possible future errors,” Goss said in an email.