Greenback Public School uses above-ground pool to help limit storm damage

Leftovers from Tropical Storm Lee have Greenback Public School "swimming" in repairs.

"There was no hole. It was just continuous. In fact, when I walked under it, it was like walking under a shower," said Principal Barbara Bradley.

Bradley found water pouring in on Monday morning during a downpour, after strong winds pulled back the corner of the gym's roof on Saturday.  She said there was several inches of water on the gym floor, which maintenance crews have cleaned up.

"The floor itself, part of it, will have to be replaced and some or all of it refinished," explained Bradley.

A tarp now covers the gym roof until repairs are made. However, water still drips through when it rains. Quick thinking by Jason Vance, Director of Loudon County Schools, put a temporary fix in place to keep water from spreading in the building.  She expects the pool to remain in the gym until school officials are sure no more water can leak in.

"Mr. Vance called back and said, 'I have an idea. I've got a swimming pool. Let's try it,' so he brought the pool over and the maintenance folks set it up...The sump pump is pumping water out through the hose, which is going into the locker room and down through the drain," said Bradley.

The gym is closed to P.E. classes, and for athletes for open gym.

"Until the roof issue is taken care of we don't feel it's safe to bring kids in here," said Head Boy's Basketball Coach and middle school teacher, Patrick Bethel.

Several classrooms, and the school's cafeteria, also sustained water related damage from the weekend storm.  Those rooms are dried out and back in use.  Bradley said it could take at least one month to get the gym repaired.

"We can have a swim team. We can offer swimming 101," she said, making light of the situation.  However, she said she is concerned more rain will cause more damage.

Despite the looming repairs, Greenback Public School is slated to get a new building in the near future.

Back in July, Loudon county commissioners approved a 20% property tax increase to build several new schools, including one in Greenback.

The school district said they have already purchased land next to the new baseball field for the new building. They expect to break ground sometime this school year. The old campus is plagued with foundation problems and gas leaks.  Part of it dates back to the 1930's.

Bradley said the gym with water damage, at the current campus, will be saved and used in the future.  Any post-storm repairs they make will be done to last and won't be temporary fixes.