Floors will be fixed in both Butler gyms

Games to go on as Butler's flood damage is repaired
Plastic tarps and fans were used in the efforts to dry out the gym floor at Butler High School earlier this month. Both the new gym and old gym were damaged in flooding on July 31.

Both the old and new gym floors at Butler High School probably will be replaced after the damage from a July 31 flood, but officials stressed Wednesday that the work shouldn't affect this year's basketball season.

Benton Starks, Richmond County schools' facilities director, said officials met last week with their insurance provider and concluded that both floors probably must be redone.

"We're well into a quarter-million dollars now (in cost)," Starks said, but the school system's cost will be a $100,000 deductible.

Starks said Butler basketball games, which start in a couple months, likely would be played on the old gym floor first while the new gym floor is replaced. Then, when the new gym floor is completed, home games would switch to it while the school's old gym is worked on.

"That scenario will probably work best," he said, adding that the work could take at least a few months.

The floors and some other parts of the school, including a music room, were damaged during a downpour. The same storm also brought lightning that damaged electric panels at several schools. Starks said a complete damage estimate won't be determined until next week. He said it's still unclear why the downpour caused such flooding at Butler, although a clogged drain is suspected. The new gym had just been completed, and school board members toured it a week before the damage.

There hasn't been any more flooding at Butler despite subsequent storms, but another one Tuesday night did cause lightning-related problems at three other Richmond County schools.

Starks said workers were busy Wednesday at Sego Middle and Goshen Elementary and Tobacco Road Elementary schools, where lightning strikes caused intercoms, burglar alarms and fire alarms to malfunction.

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