July thunderstorm leads to new North Tapps gymnasium

The plan this summer was just to replace the roof and the bleachers at North Tapps Middle School, but Mother Nature had other ideas.

“It was a dark and stormy morning,” Dieringer Superintendent Judy Neumeier-Martinson said with a laugh.

Work was underway to replace the school’s aging roof on July 20 when a thunderstorm suddenly rolled through the Lake Tapps area, drenching the workers and sending rain into the gym.

“The water just came running in the building,” Neumeier-Martinson said.

By the time it was over, the gym floor was flooded and beginning to warp.

“Hard wood and water do not mix at all,” Neumeier-Martinson said.

Along with the floor, the ceilings, wall coverings and five classrooms were damaged to the tune of approximately $600,000.

Luckily, the rains came on a Friday when people were in the building instead of over the weekend so work began immediately on drying the building, though the floor would still have to be replaced.

“It looked awful that day,” Neumeier-Martinson said.

Insurance paid for the workers to cut out the warped section of floor and replace it with new wood and then sand down the whole gym and re-finish he floor.

All of the work was completed before schools opened and students returned to find a brand new gym.

“A bad situation ended up being resolved well,” Neumeier-Martinson said.

She said the floor was original installed when the building was built in 1993 and was scheduled to be resurfaced within a few years, though seeing the new finish reminded her how old the original floor was.

“We though it looked pretty good until we saw the new one,” she said.