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School board declares a Haywood County high school gym unsafe and unsound

There's cracks in the bricks and holes in the windows of the Central Haywood High School gymnasium, yet students still learn inside there everyday. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Unsafe and unsound - that's how Haywood County school board members describe Central Haywood High School's gymnasium.

"I hope they really replace it," said Brett Ensley, father of two boys.

On the outside of the building, there's cracks in the bricks and holes in the windows yet students still learn inside there everyday.

Up until this year, Ensley's boys used to play basketball there on Saturdays.

"They played here for years. It was good for the whole community. It's where their home games were played," Ensley said.

The school board recently hired an engineering firm to come look at the building. The firm then determined there was too much damage to feasibly repair or reinforce the gym.

"You could tell the last time we were here that there were some issues with the basketball floor," Ensley added.

School board Chairman Chuck Francis said the building took a big hit back in 2004 when Hurricanes Francis and Ivan flooded the region.

So why did it take more than 14 years to deem the building unusable? We asked.

"We made the call to go ahead to refurbish the building after the floods and we were hoping that it would be a good sound building for many years in the future. It lasted a good while but yet long term it ended up not to be the best decision," Francis said.

Right now, the county's school maintenance director is seeking bids for the demolition of the building.

As for the classes students take in there, the interim superintendent said they're going to have to consider short-term and long-term arrangements for that in the weeks ahead.

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