By Blake Spurney
Harvey County Now Staff
NEWTON – Lindley Hall at Santa Fe 5/6 Center has severe structural damage that will either require it to be razed or replaced at a cost ranging from $2 million-$4 million.
Superintendent Fred Van Ranken provided the USD 373 Board of Education with an update on damage to the historic structure during a June 25 storm. He said the interior of the gym had been cordoned off from use by students.
Van Ranken said he received an official report at 6 p.m. Monday on the structural integrity of the building. He said the parapet walls were essentially separated from the building and that gravity was the only thing holding it up. He said one could see the separation of the walls from the bleachers.
Van Ranken said he was not willing to allow students to enter the structure. If the building walls fall out, they will probably land on the bleachers, he added.
Van Ranken said he couldn’t help but think of the condominium collapsing last month in Seaside, Florida. He said as a parent he wouldn’t want someone saying it was OK to use the gym floor.
Van Ranken said it would likely cost $1.5 million-$2.5 million to repair the structure. He said it would cost about $120,000 to raze it. He said conducting physical education classes at the school was the biggest issue.
Board President Mallory Morton told Van Ranken that she appreciated his openness and transparency. She said she knew the community felt as if it hadn’t been provided with accurate information at times on such matters.
Van Ranken said it was not just a “decades-old problem.” He said he understood that a building in town had similar problems when it fell down a couple of years ago. He said he would continue to pass along information to the board.