Fire causes delay to floor repairs, displaces sports practices, events

REED CITY -- It won’t be until next Monday, Reed City athletic director Monty Price said earlier this week, that sports teams will be able to get back to using the high school gym, which has not been available since smoke damage sustained on New Year’s Eve from a fire that reportedly originated in a nearby custodial closet. Home basketball games originally scheduled at Reed City this week -- Tuesday with  the Lakeview girls and Thursday with the Chippewa Hills boys -- were moved to Lakeview and Chip Hills, respectively. The road dates for the Reed City at Lakeview girls and at Chippewa Hills boys for late in the season will be home games for the Coyotes. “Our high school gym is shut down until next week, so we have moved all of our practices to the Norman elementary or middle school,” Price said. “Lakeview and Chippewa Hills were kind enough to swap us game dates. Any home games we were scheduled to have this week are being played away. And we’ll pick up that home date late in the season.” In the meantime, the basketball teams continue to make due without access to the school gym. During the holiday break, the floors in both the middle school and high school gyms were being refinished, forcing teams to go to the Reed City Elementary School gym, or to other avenues. Both varsity basketball teams had one set of practices at the Big Rapids Crossroads Elementary gym. Smoke damage from the New Year’s Eve fire then prolonged the unavailability of the high school gym. “It’s all cleaned up, they’re refinishing the floor and it should be ready to go by the weekend, hopefully,” Price said. Price added that mostly everything has been able to fall into place despite not having usage of the high school gym. “We did have to cancel some community activities to make space for some of our athletic teams in regards to practice but those activities will resume...and we’ll be back to normal,” Price said. Meanwhile, the varsity basketball teams have tried to make the necessary adjustments. “Anytime you’re practicing on a smaller court, it’s not good but we don’t have a lot of options right now,” said Reed City boys varsity coach Dean McGuire. “I don’t think there’s too many coaches that wouldn’t want to play at home all the time. It will be a good test for us this week. We’ll see what we’re made of.” Girls basketball coach Brian Koopman indicated the unavailability of both gyms during the holiday break could have an impact. “It’s one thing to come back and play after break, be ready to play and work out the rough spots,” he said. “Now you go on the road and play in a different environment.” The Reed City Wrestling Invitational last Saturday was moved to the middle school gym.