Last month, Gloucester High School’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams faced a frustrating obstacle course during a couple of their practices. Then last week, none other than Kim Patience, the school’s athletic director, had to spend much of a girls’ game helping to wipe up one end of the floor when the play went down to the other end of the court.
Neither of those episodes was planned, of course. The obstacle course wasn’t designed to test the ahletic skills of the school’s students; it was comprised of water buckets catching the steady drips seeping through the Benjamin A. Smith Field House’s leaky roof. And last Tuesday night’s effort by Patience and others wasn’t designed to make sure the field house playing floor was clean; it, too, was necessitated by the remains of the Blizzard of 2013 slipping through the beleaguered roof, not off it.
The good news is that Patience noted city crews on the roof of the school later last week, with an eye toward identifying where the leaks were coming from and how best to carry out repairs. And this week’s school vacation time should allow more time for that work to be addressed. But it’s unfortunate that it took this long for city and school officials to recognize the urgency of this project.
A wet, slippery field house floor isn’t just an inconvenience, but a very real safety hazard for students from Gloucester and any visiting school coming here to compete.
Let’s hope the roof’s days as a field house obstacle are now over.