Suggesting the best course of action for Bobby Ray Elementary might be to someday replace it, architects designing the school’s gym improvements say they might be looking at two summers worth of work to fix the existing structure.
“In the long term, I hope you do something to replace it,” said Derrick Clemow of Upland Design, the company working simultaneously on three projects for the Warren County School System. “There are serious safety issues and many areas for heat loss.”
Upland is in the midst of doing planning for an $800,000 upgrade of the Bobby Ray gym. Upland is also doing an expansion at Irving College School and building a fieldhouse at Warren County High School. The sum of the three projects is just shy of $5 million.
In the case of Bobby Ray, Upland is working to improve the gym by replacing the floor, re-configuring the bleachers and doing upgrades to the outside and inside of the building to make it both handicap accessible and aesthetically pleasing.
One of the primary things Upland will be doing is putting down a new wood floor to replace the worn out basketball court that is not only used by Bobby Ray students but also by community groups like the Jaycee basketball league.
The work will feature additions to reconfigure the back area of the gym to make it more useful and handicapped ready. There will be a ramp into the courtyard and the steps that presently lead down to the gym will be taken out and a gentler slope configured for a safer approach to the building.
On the inside there will a modification of bleachers, which include a shortening of the present seating arrangements. Clemow said there will still be a lot of room for spectators.
“The building has a massive capacity for seating,” Clemow said.
With electrical challenges already facing Upland in its upgrade, Clemow admitted the work could spill over into a second summer. He noted they will try to do all the indoor work over summer vacation when students are not there and will work on the outdoor upgrades during the school year.