Employees from Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal work on the roof replacement project at the Trimble County High School gymnasium Wednesday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Employees from Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal work on the roof replacement project at the Trimble County High School gymnasium Wednesday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Construction crews began tearing the roof off the Trimble County High School gymnasium this month after finding decking issues during repairs last year.

Architect Stan Klausing of LaGrange, told school board members during the meeting Wednesday that nearly half of the roof had been covered with the first layer. Klausing expects crews to begin on the other half of the roof tomorrow.

"I'm really surprised it's going as smoothly as it is," Klausing said.

The board bid out the project last year, but workers found the unstable roofing deck on the gymnasium. After further inspection, architects thought there could be a high risk of a worker falling through the roof if they proceeded as planned.

Crews plan to take the roof down to the metal frame, replacing all of the roof's layers during the project.

He expects the project to be completed a few days before school begins in August, weather permitting.

Trimble County Schools Superintendent Marcia Dunaway told the board insurance damage estimates had nearly tripled since the first offer of $40,000. The roofing issues were thought to be caused by hail or storm damage.

Dunaway said the project will cost about $589,000.

Also during the meeting, middle school science teacher Ali Maldonado and STEM summer class students Reese Poe and Ella Aponte presented information on the two-week class.

The summer program, which included classes relating to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, allowed students to use hands-on activities to learn about real-life applications.

More than 30 soon-to-be seventh and eighth grade students participated in the STEM summer program offered for the first time at the middle school and built carnival rides and rockets, while also learning about light, sound and survival skills, Maldonado said.

Middle school principal Mike Genton said he had to convince some students that the class wouldn't be like returning to normal school classes less than a week into their summer breaks.

"I had to do some sweet-talking near the end of the school year," he said, but the students enjoyed the program by the end of the two weeks.

Both Poe and Aponte agreed the program was fun and said they'd recommend it to friends.

"They wanted to be there," Genton said, noting some parents told him that was the first time their student couldn't wait to be at school in the morning.

The program - which Genton estimated to cost about $10,000 for class materials and teachers' salaries - was funded by a multi-year school improvement grant that ended this year.

Funding will need to be secured should the program take place next summer, he said.

"Hopefully this will continue next year," Maldonado said.