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Superintendent: Paris HS must replace gym floor after pipe burst and flood

Picture shows water flooding the Paris High School gym after a pipe break in December 2022.

PARIS – The superintendent of an Eastern Illinois school district says the gymnasium floor of the high school must be rebuilt after a pipe break and flood.

It was the Christmas Day surprise that Paris Union School District No. 95 superintendent Jeremy Larson was not expecting.

“When you walk into the school and into that main lobby, the entire ceiling is just decimated,” said Larson.

After days of below freezing temperatures, a fire suppression line broke at Paris High School, showering hallways, the library and classrooms with pressurized water for a half hour. The worst damage was in the gymnasium where water flooded the all-wood floor.

“It covered your entire shoe and you could kick water,” said Larson. “It wasn’t just a spill on the floor. It was substantial water damage that occurred.”

Larson, mitigation experts from Champaign and a flooring company have been onsite since Christmas Day, determining what can be saved.

On Thursday afternoon, Larson informed the public the floor will have to be replaced over a series of months. An email sent to the media says in part:

After a thorough inspection, it was determined that a two foot wide cut section needed to be taken out around the main gym floor to check for water damage. Upon further inspection, water was found under the vapor barrier located beneath the gym floor. Despite various drying techniques and mitigation efforts, it has been determined that the gym floor will need to be replaced.

This project will take some time and may not be completed until sometime within the summer. Classes will resume on January 4 for students as normal, but athletic events will be rescheduled to different locations while the floor is being repaired. The school administration is working hard to locate alternative sites for events such as PE courses, athletic programs, May Fete, and graduation in advance so that they are not affected.

For now, athletics are being moved to other facilities.

Larson says the rest of Paris High School will be open when 580 students return to class on Wednesday, January 4, 2023.

Picture of Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick is the News & Public Affairs Director for the Illinois Newsroom. He started at WILL in October of 2019 after serving as News Director for WKAR in East Lansing, Michigan. Previously, he was a news producer and manager at the NBC station in Dallas, where he won 7 Emmy awards. Born in Vietnam, Reginald is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. Email: rh14@illinois.edu Twitter: @RNewsWILL

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