Classes moved back to school

By Anna Carrera

Published 02/11 2014 06:23PM

Updated 02/14 2014 05:20PM

Latest: 4:40 pm, 2/14/14, Friday
GIBSON CITY -- Students at GCMS High School are getting back into their regular schedules. Water had to be shut off at the school after a water main break. Students spent two days having class at a nearby church.
Update: 10:05 pm, 2/12/14, Wednesday
GIBSON CITY -- Water is also a problem in another part of Ford County. A broken water main is forcing kids to have school in a church for a second day.

Workers are fixing pipes at Gibson City Melvin Sibley High School. Students are having class at the Gibson City Bible Church.

Students and teachers are working with few supplies and no internet. They even had to eat lunch on the floor. But, the principal says they're making it work and they hope to be back in their own building by Friday.
Original: 6:23, 2/11/14, Tuesday
GIBSON CITY -- Water, fire suppression and the heating system; Those are all important things to have working during the school day. But a water leak at a Ford County high school could put them in jeopardy.

Workers are trying to fix the leak, but they may need to shut off the water at Gibson City Melvin Sibley High. So school leaders put together a plan of action. They're thinking about moving the students to a different building.

The principal worked out a plan to have classes at a church in Gibson City instead. School leaders hope they won't have to, but they're ready just in case. At a place where students are soaking up knowledge and information, the building they're learning in is leaking.

"We didn't know how much or where it was or exactly what was going on," said GCMS High School principal Chris Garard. "We just knew we had a water leak."

School leaders found the leak around Christmas, about eight feet underground. They hoped to postpone work until the kids were out of school, but it kept getting worse.

"It's a 1954 building with a 1954 water line," said Garard.

In case they can't have class there for a while, the principal found a substitute building; the Gibson City Bible Church.

"We've tried to build bridges to the school," said Gibson City Bible Church Pastor Paul Thomason. "We're grateful that they're able to use the building. We're thankful for the opportunity to serve the community that way."

A few hundred people can fit in the main room, which also works as a gym and stage area. And there are about a dozen classrooms teachers could use too. Staff could still serve lunch out of the church's kitchen. And Thomason says there should be enough bathrooms for everyone.

"We're simply saying we're available and we have certain things in the building that are available," said Thomason.

Even though they're not sure what the next few days will hold, school leaders say they wanted to be prepared.

"The kids are excited," said Garard. "They would love to go. Honestly if we don't have to go, I don't want to be the one to tell them because they're looking forward to it."

Garard says they may not need to use the church at all or they could end up there for a few days in a row. They just have to wait and see how the repairs go and take it from there. So far, the leak hasn't done any damage to the building.

This isn't the first time GCMS has used that church. Students have gone to the building for ACT testing, and also for career day and farm safety exhibits. People also use the church as a warming center and emergency shelter.

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