School officials tour Greenback School, gas leak sends students out of gym

 Mary E. Hinds News Herald

The Building and Maintenance Committee of the Loudon County School Board held their latest meeting in the Greenback School Library Wednesday morning. The meeting was attended by other school board members, school personnel and members of the public who came to discuss the plans and timetable for fixing the items cited in a recent report on the condition of the school. 

Issues have been put on the back burner for a week as the school system dealt with gas leaks at the aging facility. Wednesday morning's meeting ended with Greenback Principal Joey Breedlove telling the participants the school gym had just been evacuated because a workman on another project had smelled gas yet again. School officials decided the problem did not warrant evacuating the school again. Speaking after the meeting, Greenback's school board representative Lisa Russell said the hanging heater that was registering gas fumes was removed and the gas line to it was capped. 

The meeting began with the entire group at the meeting, approximately 20 people, going on a Breedlove-led tour of the school to look at the items the firm Hodge Associates has noted in the report written after they had inspected the campus. The report detailed several major problems including a chimney that is cracked in numerous places and in danger of falling, a roof joist in  the gymnasium showing excessive shear stress at the bearing seats, a band room with wood roof trusses with missing gutters and downspouts that have allowed water to infiltrate the mortar joints and a recommendation for more inspections in that area and the walkway canopy at the west end of the high school that is unstable.  

The report also included several observed issues with other parts of the structure including a number of masonry cracks throughout the entire facility, a room with a breech in the waterproofing of the partial retaining exterior wall, exterior doors and windows throughout the facility that do not have the proper weather stripping and broken windows, concrete walkways and stoops with severe cracks that could be tripping hazards, control joints in the brick facade that should be further investigated, roof systems throughout the facility that are in poor condition and do not properly channel storm drainage to the downspout conductor and leaks in the spray form material that may cause the roof deck to rust and compromise its structural integrity. 

The Wednesday morning walk through gave the group a look at most of the items cited in the report. According to school officials, Buckhead, a construction firm, should have a list prioritizing the most critical items for repair within 15 days.

Apparent gas leak prompts Greenback gym evacuation

By News Sentinel staff
GREENBACK - An apparent gas leak at the Greenback School in Loudon County prompted an order to clear the school gym today as parents and school board members were on hand to discuss problems at the school including chronic gas leaks.

Some parents promptly told Greenback administrators they were withdrawing their children from the kindergarten-12th grade school, some parts of which date to the late 1930s, because of safety concerns.

The school was closed most of last week to check the entire facility for leaks. It had been cleared to reopen Tuesday.

The smell of the odorant used in natural gas, which is naturally odor-free, was evident today in the gymnasium. The state Fire Marshal found the leak and ordered everyone out of the room.

The Loudon County school board's maintenance committee toured the school today.

Gas leak at Greenback School

Staff Reports The Daily Times
Officials reported another gas leak this morning at Greenback School.

The leak was detected in the locker room area. Officials did not order an evacuation.

The Loudon County Building Committee held a meeting this morning at the school to discuss the school's gas leaks. While committee members were at the school they were notified of the locker room gas leak and went to investigate.

Officials have recommended that employees pull out the heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, cap it and replace it with an electrical HVAC unit, said Principal Joey Breedlove.