The moldy field house at Smithfield-Selma High School will come down soon.
School system spokeswoman Tracey Peedin Jones said the last hurdle to razing the building was removing the asbestos, a task completed earlier this month. A huge dumpster now rests near the field house, ready for debris from the demolition.
But the school system hasn’t set a date for demolition, and it still doesn’t know what will replace the field house.
“The assistant principal is in the process of scheduling stakeholder meetings for the beginning of the school year,” Peedin Jones said in an email. Those meetings will help determine what replaces the field house.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
School board chairman Larry Strickland has said it could take as long as 18 months to decide what will replace the field house.
In February, the school system shuttered the field house after parent complaints of mold, exposed wiring and a leaky roof. On March 1, Mark Lee, parent of a SSS baseball player, showed photos of the field house’s poor condition to the Smithfield Town Council. The council then called on the school system to demolish the field house and build a new one.
Tests did reveal mold in the field house.
The one-story brick building with a flat roof stands on the far side of the football field and behind home plate of the baseball diamond. The school system built the field house in 1972, a couple of years after SSS opened on Booker Dairy Road. It has not undergone a renovation since then, according to the school system.
The baseball team had been using the building to dress for games.
The school system has said little about how the field house fell into such disrepair. State law requires principals to inspect all buildings on campus twice per month, and the school system’s Division of Facility Services inspects all occupied spaces monthly. Those three monthly inspections are on top four other yearly inspections for cleanliness and safety.
The school system expects the demolition and a new field house to cost $160,000, said Patrick Jacobs, chief operations officer.
Abbie Bennett: 919-553-7234, Ext. 101; @AbbieRBennett