ILWACO — Ocean Beach School District is in the process of giving Carl Aase Gymnasium a facelift. Work is progressing well.

The worn-out hardwood floor is being replaced. Since the old bleachers had to be taken out of the gym at Black Lake (old high school) Campus to do that job, bleachers installed in 1971 are also being replaced.

“Some of the original bleacher parts were beginning to wear out. We fixed the structure the bleachers slide in and out on between five and 10 years ago. The system is remarkably delicate, but our maintenance staff was able to straighten it. We have been fortunate to get a lot more use out of the bleachers than what their life expectancy was rated for,” OBSD Superintendent Mark Hottowe said.

The type of bleacher system in Aase Gym usually has a useful life of around 20 years. While the equipment is able to move a great deal of weight in and out, it takes very little weight from on top to alter the supports. When a student would go to the top of the bleachers to remove an errant basketball that had lodged there, just that weight caused vertical stress that the equipment was not designed to withstand.

“The electrical system is out-of-date and the new system will be much more efficient,” Hottowe explained. “It was cost effective to replace the bleachers while we were replacing the gym floor. The school board was afraid the bleacher system was close to failing and now was the time to make a change.

The system had reached the point that trying to repair it was not in our best interest. It was the sensible thing to do to replace the bleachers, as well,” Hottowe said.

The bleachers were removed in early March and physical education classes and practicing sports teams have been using the facility. The floor is scheduled to be replaced the first two weeks of April, with the main work day currently set for April 1. Installing gym floors is a specialized task and Ilwaco High School is on a job schedule along with others in the region. The new bleacher system should be installed and running shortly thereafter.

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