Nehalem gym safety upgrades almost finished

When hundreds of students return to Nehalem Elementary School in early September they may be in for a big surprise.

By Brad Mosher
[email protected]

The campus gymnasium will look totally different – from the inside. The gym floor will have a new Nehalem Elementary logo. That is just part of the $1.5 million seismic retrofit and upgrade funded by a state grant that is nearing completion. It will be ready when the staff returns to the campus in late August and before the students arrive in early September, according to the superintendent of the Neah-Kah-Nie School District #56.

Superintendent Paul Erlebach said Monday that the construction company has taken the roof off the school’s gymnasium. “They are putting in supports and basically an interior wall around the whole entire gym and then putting the roof back on. It is a big project and the whole purpose of it is safety.

“They have put new roof joists on and they have sheeted it. They are also starting on the interior walls,” the superintendent said.

He estimated that the project will be finished by about the final week in August. O’Brien Construction of Cannon Beach is handling the project. There are three stages to the project, he explained. “You have the gym floor, new interior support walls and a roof.”

The new walls will mean there will be slightly less space inside.

“We are going to lose a little inside space, but that is the way the ball bounces,” he explained. “From the outside you won’t notice that anything has been done. But what has been done is a new roof, new interior walls and a new floor. The bleachers were removed also, so we’re going to have a new bench installed and portable chairs.

“With the interior, it will be like walking into a brand new gym. It will be like going back to the future when you walk in. Everything you will see will be new,” the superintendent explained. “Except for the doors.”

In addition, the gymnasium will also have a new heating system and new lighting.

“There already have been some surprises,” the superintendent said.

The project started right after the school year ended and the students left.