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Leak at Takhini Elementary School impacts archery training

No timeline in place for the re-opening of the gym to the public
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An area of the Tahkini Elementary School gym is blocked off to dry out on Oct. 23, after a water pipe leaked last week. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Archers with the Yukon Aboriginal Sports Circle (YASC) may be looking for a new place to train after a leak in the gym at Takhini Elementary School has indefinitely closed the gym to outside activity.

According to Kyle Nightingale, a spokesperson for the Yukon Department of Education, a small pinhole leak in the sprinkler system leaked on the gym floor the weekend of Oct. 13.

Oshea Jephson, a spokesperson for the Department of Highways and Public Works, said the problem originated with a pinhole leak that likely came about because the building and its piping are fairly old.

He said that when the sprinkler system in the gym is activated, the system then needs to be completely dried out to ensure water won’t corrode the pipes. He said water may have pooled in some of the pipes in the system that were not downward-sloping.

Those pipes have been repaired, said Jephson.

Right now, he said the floors need more drying time before an assessment can be made on further potential repairs needed.

Sarah Walz, coordinator with YASC, told the News that the organization had been told it would only be a week, but that week keeps getting extended. She said the organization had heard it could be as long as three months.

She said one of the groups (including youth and adult classes) using the gym seven days a week includes a team of eight archers, aged 12 to 17, who are preparing for the Canada Winter Games.

“The games are end of February, so if we weren’t to have a space, if it was three months, that would put us into January and way behind,” she said. “We have no choice but to find somewhere else.”

She said archers need 18 meters of distance to shoot.

On Oct. 23, students at Takhini Elementary were still using the gym, though one side of it was roped off. Four fans blew across the hardwood at different angles, in an attempt to dry the water that had leaked under the boards, causing some of them to rise up. Water stains were visible on the ceiling of the gym.

Walz said YASC should have an update on Oct. 26, but may have to start looking for alternate space, which could prove problematic.

“We’re in kind of a scramble now,” she said. “Most of the schools are booked up.”

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com