The Enterprise High school gymnasium, discovered to have a broken truss, was repaired and back in use by Friday, Nov. 1. Initially it was thought the repairs would extend into basketball season.

The 50-year-old gym had been closed down since Oct. 9 after the broken truss was brought to the attention of structural engineers who described the roof as "in a state of imminent collapse."

The broken truss was discovered Oct. 8 when John Hillock of Enterprise Electric was working above the gym ceiling doing ballast work. He notified administration who notified the school's engineering firm. Once the extent of the break was seen by a structural engineer the gymnasium was closed to further use.

Two of three engineers who viewed the damage were of the opinion that the gym would have collapsed had it not been built into the side of the older, smaller gymnasium.

Enterprise Superintendent of Schools Brad Royse thinks the truss may have been broken for a number of years. The nature of the break looks like the damage came in one major event. School Board member Joe Stangel thinks the last major event that could have caused the break would have been the major snowfall in January of 1997 when 3 1/2 feet of snow fell in a short period of time. That was the same snowfall which precipitated the New Year's Day flood at Imnaha.

"The repair could not have gone any better," said Nathan Steinbeck of Mark Heuett Contractors of Enterprise which made the repair. He said the concrete support pilaster which had moved 1 1/2 inches because of the stress moved back into place during the repair without any cracking.

After protecting the gym floor with a rug, plywood and crossing pieces of lumber, 5 inch steel posts were put into place on three strategic locations on the bottom side of the top cord of the truss and jacked up by three 20 ton jacks. This relieved pressure from the bottom cord where the break was located and allowed the pilaster to move back into place. The actual tension splice consisted of two 14 foot pieces of steel located on the top of the broken bottom cord. Each steel piece was anchored by 104 lag bolts.

The only possible delay in the repair was removed Wednesday afternoon when a fast tracked building permit was approved in Salem. The local contractors could shore up the ceiling and put repair equipment and parts in place, but could not make the actual repair until the building permit was approved.

A crew of four Mark Heuett Contractors employees worked three consecutive 14-hour days to get the truss repaired by Friday. Some additional work will go on above the gym ceiling after the facility is again open for use.

At an emergency meeting of the Enterprise School Board held in the early morning of Oct. 25 a resolution was adopted declaring the roof repair an emergency and authorizing Mark Heuett Contractors to do the work without going out for competitive bids. The contracting firm submitted a bid in three stages which the school board approved. The initial charge of $8,930 was to install and dismantel temporary shoring for the job, $7,500 was charged for the actual repair of the truss and $4,500 was added to run steel cable through all five trusses for additional support.

Aiding in the quick repair effort was Stangel Industries which made an early morning run to Longview, Wash. to retrieve the 5 inch steel poles and worked many hours to fabricate steel for the job.

Steinbeck said the repair was not difficult for a company that specializes in dam repairs and other highly technical construction work..

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.