NATCHEZ – Ferriday Junior High School students might have to wait a while for their new gym.

While the demolition of the old gym may be finished before school starts on August 10, the new gym has hit a snag.

“We’ve got some floor damage as a result of carelessness with a sprinkler system,” Thomas O’Neal, Concordia Parish School Board secretary treasurer and the gym’s project manager, said.

Last week, a group of students were playing in the gym.

“They got under the bleachers and broke a sprinkler head,” O’Neal said.

The sprinkler heads were installed under the bleachers to comply with safety requirements.

As a result of the damage, water was on the floor for approximately 35-40 minutes.

“I’m not real pleased with this at this point in time, but that’s in essence what happened,” O’Neal said.  “Kids should never have been under the bleachers to start with, but they were.”

O’Neal is not sure how much damage has been done to the floor.  He called Sports Floors, Inc. from Memphis, Tenn., who installed the floor, to come in and have a look soon.

Until they figure out how much damage was done to the floor, O’Neal is not sure if it will be ready when school starts up.

“Other than that, the facility is ready for school to start,” O’Neal said.

Aug. 10 is also looming large for the old gym, which O’Neal hopes to have demolished soon.

“My goal is to have it done before school starts,” O’Neal said.

The asbestos inspectors recently left the premises with all of the asbestos from the old building removed.

Now, all the district is waiting on is getting the gas and the electricity cut.

“We’re set as soon as these utility people can make these changes,” O’Neal said.

It’s a little tricky because of the building’s proximity to the cafeteria, which will need to retain its electricity and gas.

“The cafeteria and the gymnasium are all on big building,” O’Neal said.  “It’s separated by a single wall right now.”

Once the energy and gas companies have safely disconnected the gas and electricity to the gym, the demolition can get under way.

O’Neal hopes to start the demolition today.

NOTE: By the publish date of this article, Sports Floors, Inc. had already visited the site, assessed the damage, and begun tearing out the flooded floor.  The damage is far too great for the new gym to be ready before school starts.