The games will go on, but just where they will take place is the question.
Officials with Fort Mill High School and the Fort Mill School District are looking for alternative places to play to start the 2023-2024 basketball and wrestling seasons after a pipe broke in the ceiling of the school over the weekend flooding the wrestling room, main gym, and auxiliary gym.
“Both of our gyms are unusable and both of the floors will have to be replaced,” said Fort Mill athletic director Dwayne Hartsoe. “We don’t have anywhere at our school for basketball now, so we are practicing off campus.”
The estimated cost of the damage could be at up to $1 million, but an exact number hasn’t been determined. A plumbing company was working in the school Friday.
“We are in the process of getting it estimated now,” said Joe Burke, district chief communications officer. “We aren’t even sure who is liable at this point.”
Basketball tryouts are being held this week and the season is scheduled to start later in November. Other schools in the district are being utilized for tryouts and the Town of Fort Mill is helping regarding allowing the use of Banks Street Gym. Hartsoe said they don’t have a plan yet regarding home games for basketball.
“We are just taking it a week at a time,” he said.
The issue happened sometime overnight Friday, Oct. 27 and into Saturday, Oct. 28. About 6:45 a.m. Saturday, Hartsoe said he got a call letting him know about the broken pipe. Hartsoe said he knew there was a problem when he pulled up to the school seeing that water had run out of the building and into the student parking lot.
“Water ran for about five or six hours until the cleaning crew came in on Saturday morning at about 6,” he said. “It went all the way down and flooded the commons. There were 12 classrooms flooded. It went back into my office. When I got there, there was two inches of water everywhere I went in there.”
Hartsoe said there was probably millions of gallons of water that soaked the floor of the gym to the point that the hardwood of the basketball courts started popping up and buckling. Part of the courts in some places are bubbled up as much as three feet high.
“It is amazing what the water does,” he said. “Two gyms are ruined. The wrestling room is ruined. It is going to be a big task; it is going to be a big job. We can’t do anything until the insurance adjusters get in there and start taking pictures.”
Hartsoe is hopeful that new courts in the school will be ready to be played on by January to salvage some part of basketball season.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @fortprep