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Crater High classes canceled all week

Engineers determined the old gym area was not safe to occupy due to failing trusses

Classes at Crater High are canceled for the remainder of the week while engineering teams work to assess and hopefully remedy a situation involving failing trusses in an old, remodeled gym space.

Central Point School District 6 officials announced Tuesday night that classes would be canceled Wednesday.

District Superintendent Walt Davenport said Wednesday afternoon that engineers discovered the structural deficiencies while assessing the truss area of the old building for installation of a new HVAC system as part of ongoing bond improvement projects.

Engineers spent much of Wednesday assessing the trusses and are working to come up with some options that will allow the structure to be usable once more.

The situation is isolated to the old gym structure, upstairs and down, Davenport said.

The temporary loss of 20 classrooms affects all three of the campus’s small high schools, Davenport said, and a few days will be needed to devise a plan to get students moved to different classroom locations.

“Yesterday we had a team of engineers examining part of our Crater campus for the installation of HVAC and, when the engineers got up in the attic, they noticed some anomalies in the truss system that supports the roof. Upon further examination, there was indication of failure in the trusses, and it was determined it was not safe to occupy,” the superintendent said.

Davenport said he was notified Tuesday night and immediately convened the campus crisis team at 9 p.m. to come up with a contingency plan.

“We were pressed to make a decision, and obviously safety trumps everything and is our No. 1 priority at District 6.”

Davenport said the classroom area was built as a gym in the 1950s and was remodeled in the 1970s, “so the trusses were built in the ’50s.”

“We’re working with experts out of Portland and other construction experts in the area to dig down and assess the trusses and other components in more detail, and we will be actively pursuing a remedy to get students back into this building as soon as possible,” he said.

“It is very, very difficult for us to displace 20 classrooms and accommodate for those students elsewhere. The issue is compounded because we’re in the middle of a bond program where we already have modular classrooms (portables) on campus and are already stretched so thin on space.”

Davenport said discovery of the unsafe trusses was just one glitch in an otherwise idealistic start to the school year.

“It’s been just a great start to our school year with great momentum, great activities and participation in athletics. Morale has been really high; enrollment is strong. To have something like this happen after COVID and after everything else the students have been through was just really disappointing,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

“I was on Cloud 9, seeing kids cheering at games, dressed in all orange and black, going to the dance. We’re going to make every accommodation to keep things moving for our kids. This was a curveball for sure, but I just left a teacher meeting, and they were all very positive and helping find ways to adapt to the unexpected. I’m very proud of our staff and administration.”

Updates will be posted on the district website (district6.org) and on social media. Classes are canceled for the rest of the week for the entire campus, but athletics will continue as scheduled.

Reach reporter Buffy Pollock at 541-776-8784 or bpollock@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @orwritergal.