South Albany High School main gym open after fire
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South Albany High School main gym open after fire

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South Albany gym

Wrestlers warm up for a meet inside the South Albany High School gym on Wednesday afternoon for the first OSAA athletic event since the facility was closed after a Dec. 10 fire.

Students and staff are back in the main gym at South Albany High School after a Dec. 10 fire that filled the building with smoke. 

A Wednesday night wrestling match marked the first event held in the gym since the fire. The new auxiliary gym still under construction — and the location where the fire started — remains closed.

According to a Greater Albany Public Schools spokesperson, there is no set timeline for the auxiliary facility to be handed over to GAPS from the construction company.

 "We are so thankful for the partnership with HMK and ServPro of Douglas County for meeting the aggressive timeline for getting our students back in their learning spaces," Superintendent Melissa Goff said in a statement. "We particularly would like to thank the South Albany PE teachers, coaches, and athletes who have been displaced and have been flexible these last several weeks."

The December fire was the second at the school in four years. In 2015, a fire destroyed the high school’s cafeteria, music rooms and cooking and child development classrooms.

The cause of the December fire is still under investigation, but according to Albany Fire Department, it does not appear to be suspicious in nature. 

At the time of the fire, Goff said, "We recognize this is the second fire in four years for this community and that, in itself, may be traumatizing." 

On Monday, the school board approved the remediation of the auxiliary gym after the fire, noting its emergency status. According to information provided to the school district, all fire related costs would be covered by insurance other than the district's $50,000 deductible. 

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