ROOF COLLAPSES ON MARSHALLS GYMNASIUM

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Termite damage blamed

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, July 1, 2011) – The national gymnasium in the Marshall Islands has been declared off limits until a thorough investigation of the safety of the facility is concluded. The ban on use of the gym follows last week’s collapse of a portion of its roof as the result of termite damage. There were no injuries.

The two-court sports facility was built as part of a Japanese government grant for public school improvements in the mid-1990s. But the gym has been infested with termites for several years.

Public Works budget manager Ray Sunga said Thursday that it will take Public Works engineers about a week to inspect the rest of the national gym.

In the meantime, a summer basketball league for teenage players that started two weeks ago has been called off pending a decision on the safety of the gym, according to league manager Sailass Kotton.

Kotton said they are looking at the possibility of using an outdoor court for these summer sports leagues.

Public Works crews with the assistance of a crane from a local contractor pulled off the damaged section of the roof Wednesday. The lane next to the gym had been blocked off for a week, and only reopened to traffic Wednesday this week.

The roof timber removed from the building showed heavy termite damage, and beams inside the Quonset hut-style roof show many termite trails.

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