Waukesha North volleyball teams forced to relocate as fire cleanup continues
Squads practicing at different sites, girls to play most of matches on the road
Waukesha West unveiled its new fieldhouse floor this week as its volleyball teams began practicing on the shiny wood surface.
Students at Waukesha North, on the other hand, will have to continue to wait before its new fieldhouse wood floor is finished.
The fire that broke out inside the fieldhouse last month not only caused the opening date to be pushed back, but it has forced the high school volleyball teams to relocate until the cleanup and repair is done, which might not be for another month.
New Waukesha North Athletic Director Brian Schlei said the boys volleyball team has moved its practices to Waukesha West through Oct. 4.
He said the Northstars' only home match scheduled between now and then was moved to the other team's site.
The girls volleyball team, meanwhile, will practice at Waukesha South High School until at least Sept. 3 and may continue there until Oct. 4 if Schlei can't secure an alternative location.
"They are a bigger team than the boys and we may end up at a different site to accommodate their need without taking away opportunities from Waukesha South's teams to practice in their own gym," Schlei said.
While the change didn't impact many of the boys' team's matches, the girls, however, will play all but one of its matches on the road until Oct. 4.
Its home match with Muskego, originally scheduled for Sept. 24, has been rescheduled for a later date.
"The athletic directors from our district and surrounding schools have been really supportive and helpful," Schlei said.
The fire on Aug. 1, which caused these site changes, was started by the inappropriate storage and disposal of oily rags that may have ultimately spontaneously combusted during the construction process, the Waukesha Fire Department investigation revealed.
The initial cost estimate was "several hundred thousand dollars," but Superintendent Todd Gray said it's likely now closer to $3 million. He believes the flooring company's and school district's insurance will combine to cover the expense.
Waukesha West and North high schools are building the wood floors over the 20-year-old synthetic rubber surfaces.
Meanwhile, this week was the first time staff at Waukesha North were allowed back in the building since the fire. Staff had been operating out of nearby Butler Middle School after being displaced due to the smoke throughout the building.
Students will be allowed into the building for the first time on Thursday.
The building will be ready for the start of the school year Sept. 3.
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