School District Moves Full Steam Ahead on Repairs

By ALLIE HOSTLER, Two Rivers Tribune

Two Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District gymnasiums are now closed  awaiting repairs.

The Orleans Elementary School Gymnasium has a leaky roof, even after repairs were done to correct the problem a couple of years ago.

“The whole roof needs to come off,” KTJUSD Superintendent, Dione Beilby said. “It’s leaking down into the gym. We absolutely cannot have puddles of water and roof tiles falling down.”

Beilby said work on the gym begins this week and that the project is being expedited so it can be completed before school starts next year. Expediting the project also enables the District to use emergency funds from the state that might not otherwise be available.

River Schools Principal, Matt Malkus said a number of community organizations rely on the Orleans gym and that it was being used almost every night of the week for drop-in basketball and volleyball leagues.

“Our number one priority is public safety for our students and the community groups that use the gym,” Malkus said. We had one ceiling tile come down so far. If a water-logged tile fell it could actually hurt someone.”

Malkus is confident the project will be completed as planned.

Also on the fast-track to fixing is the Jack Norton Elementary School water system.

Malkus said Jack Norton Elementary, a Kindergarten through eighth grade school with about 30 students total, is one of the most remote schools in California relying on electricity from a diesel generator. The school also relies on an independent gravity-fed water system which draws from a nearby spring.

Beilby said the federal government is requiring the school to hook up to a public water system that is more closely monitored. She said she has been in close communication with the Yurok Tribe’s Chairman and they are working together to tie the school into the Yurok Tribe’s system.

“The school’s system requires daily testing to ensure we’re complying with the state and federal requirements for water quality,” Malkus said. “The Yurok Tribe already provides the same service for the village of Watek so instead of duplicating those services, we’re wanting to contract with the Yurok Tribe to provide water to the school.”

Malkus said they’ve never had water test ‘unsafe’ but spikes and inconsistent data have brought the system under scrutiny.

Beilby said the current drought situation in California could mean lower flows in the stream that feeds the school.

“This is being considered an emergency project so we can move full speed ahead,” Beilby said. “We need the water especially if we are going into a drought situation.”

The project is expected to be completed by July 1.

All-Indian Basketball fans likely recall the 2014 tournament—held in March—being relocated to a smaller, less hospitable gymnasium after the Hoopa Valley High School gym floor began to buckle during a basketball game.

About three years ago the floor was re-sanded, finished, re-striped and called new, however, Beilby said the floor had been sanded to its limit and the boards had thinned to a point that they could no longer tolerate moisture.

“The gym hasn’t gotten a new floor in more than 30 years,” Beilby said.

That project will begin on May 19 and is expected to be completed before next school year begins.

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