Preble gym fire impacts classes, sports

GREEN BAY – The new school year is still more than three weeks away, but student activities are already being affected.

“Hopefully they can salvage this, but it looks pretty bad,” said Preble Varsity Basketball Coach Jim Wall.

Seeing the significant fire damage inside Preble High School’s gym left Wall feeling overwhelmed.

“Everything is melted. Posters and signage. And the floor is gone, and so, yeah I have no idea. I tried to get in the building to check equipment,” Wall said.

The fire poses a more immediate problem for fall sports. Football practice just began and the first game is less than two weeks away.

“The equipment is stored right behind the gym, so I was kind of just hoping that maybe the fire went around it or something like that,” said Preble High School senior Casey Nelson.

The players did get some equipment out of their locker room and stashed it in a nearby shed. However, helmets and pads had smoke damage and need to be looked at.

“See what needs to be professionally reconditioned or cleaned versus what we can do ourselves, because we just really want to make sure that the equipment that we hand back to the kids is safe,” said Preble Varsity Football Coach Tim Larsen.

Preble volleyball players are also concerned about their future.

“We need to practice for volleyball, and we have tryouts coming up, so I don’t know where we’re going to have that,” said Preble High School junior Brianna Schneeberger.

School officials say volleyball and other sports beginning next week will have to do drills somewhere else.

Word that the gym will be off limits for quite awhile is also worrisome for students who run track – even though their season is months away.

The fire melted away the rubber running surface, and athletes say if it’s not replaced by winter, they’ll have to practice elsewhere.

“A lot of schools don’t have indoor tracks, they just practice in the halls, and that’s going to be different because we have our track and it’s super nice,” Schneeberger said.

Open gym is also out of the picture for now.

And of even more immediate concern, summer school. Because smoke spread into the hallways, those students will have their final week at Edison Middle School starting Monday.

Also at risk, new teacher orientation and student registration, both scheduled to begin next week.

For more detailed information on changes to activity schedules at Preble, click here.

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