High School Gym Fire

Parts of the scoreboard that hangs in the Española Valley High School Gym fell on the newly finished floor after the base of the scoreboard burned out. An electrical source is suspected but neither local fire department officials nor the State Fire Marshal's Office had any information at presstime.

Española School District Facilities Manager Aaron Aragon and Athletic Director Matthew Abeyta updated the school Board Nov. 4 about the status of the Española Valley High School gym after a Nov. 3 early morning fire destroyed the scoreboard and speakers, damaging a recently refinished gymnasium floor in the process.

The scoreboard and the speakers are covered by insurance but Abeyta said the delivery for scoreboards is at least eight to 10 weeks out.

“We’ll probably have to use a portable system,” he said. “We have to redo the whole court. There is no power to the gym until we find what caused the short. That was the original (electrical) panel.”

Board Secretary Brandon Bustos was concerned the speakers were brand new, as the Board had approved new speakers at its Oct. 7 meeting. Fortunately, they were the old ones.

Aragon said the immediate need was cleanup and repair.

“All the acoustic tiles must be replaced,” he said. “The whole gym must be repainted, the whole gym.”

Board member Jeremy Maestas wanted to know how physical education classes will be handled.

Abeyta said they had classroom space to address the problem.

The main concern on everyone’s mind was the immediately upcoming basketball season.

“Are we going to have a season,” Board Vice President Ruben Archuleta said.

As far as practicing, Abeyta said the boys basketball team was using the Alcalde Elementary gym and the girls were using Fairview Elementary’s gym.

Aragon said the floor could be refinished rather quickly with basic lines, making it compliant with New Mexico Activities Association requirements.

“We can go back and do the logos and emblems later,” he said. “We can get it playable.”

The possibility of playing on a different court was also considered.

Abeyta said he had already contacted Northern New Mexico College Athletic Director Ryan Cordova about using Eagle Gymnasium.

“He was on his way out the door for a road game but promised we would talk after he got back Sunday,” Abeyta said.

Maestas brought up the concern of Northern requiring vaccinations to be on campus. Archuleta, who also serves as a regent said the Board of Regents had just passed a resolution requiring all staff and students to be vaccinated to be on campus.

Northern New Mexico College President Rick Bailey said Nov. 5 the Regents had affirmed his mandate on Oct. 12, which had been a point of contention for Regent Erica Velarde during the Sept. 24 regular meeting.

“Anyone who needs to be on campus, employees or students, must be vaccinated,” he said.

This applies to coaches, players and fans.

Abeyta said he had been in contact with Chris Kedge and others at the Association and they were supportive of any work-arounds.

Employees at the school reported the fire alarm did not go off while the fire was burning and the gym was completely filled with toxic smoke. A request for the report from the New Mexico Fire Marshal’s Office has been pending since Nov. 4.

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