Browerville Public School Gym Demolished After Roof Collapses
A school in Todd County suffered a major loss on Sunday when their gymnasium’s roof collapsed unexpectedly from a heavy amount of snow. It happened Saturday at Browerville Public School, and thankfully, no one was inside at the time of the partial collapse.
This was all brought to light when the Browerville High School chool track team was preparing for a meet. They noticed things were off with the gym and called school administrators immediately.
“When I walked in and I saw the girders were bent and there was a sudden – there was a collapse, and I knew it was pretty monumental,” said principal Patrick Sutlief.
After contacting architects and engineers to assess the damage, it was determined the building would eventually suffer a further collapse. Rather than having the building fall on its own, the school held an emergency meeting, where they decided to bring the gym down in a controlled collapse. Gas lines, heating systems, and power were turned off prior to the demolition effort, and things of value were removed from the structure.
“[I]t was impending, it was going to collapse. But for the safety of the kids and the public and the staff, it had to be done,” said Sutlief.
But with a pile of rubble and debris standing where the gym used to be, the public has felt the loss of this linchpin of the community.
“There was a steady parade of cars and people coming up. There was tears shed, but I think about it personally, I had a child who played sports on that court,” shared Sutlief. “Generations have had kids play or go to dances or have concerts in that gym. That gym was used for a wide variety of things, so the gym represents a lot more, and now it’s a big gaping hole where this center of attention used to be.”
Structural engineers and the Browerville Fire Department have been working to make sure the existing walls will be structurally sound and safe for students. They have established a safe zone around the area, and once that has been cleared and no one is at risk, they will start making plans for a new gym in the future.