The shiny new construction at Hood River Middle School was marred by vandalism last week.
School Resource Officer Tiffany Hicks said it appears the damage was done by skateboarders and rollerbladers, culprits who could face jail time if caught.
“It’s just really aggravating that people have been working all summer long to make this school a nice place for students and it’s been thrashed before it’s even finished,” said Tiffany.
Sometime between Thursday evening and the early morning hours on Friday, the handrail to the new courtyard was gouged down to the metal.
Tiffany said it appears the grooves were carved by a skateboard being ridden down the rail. In addition, the criminal mischief extended into numerous black skidmarks being left on the recently poured pavement and trails cut across the newly seeded lawn facing May Street.
“We’re talking a lot of work to get this back to the way it was,” said Principal Bob Dais. “What really bothers me is the insensitivity they have shown for something the community is really proud of.”
He estimates the cost of repair at between $400-$500 for labor alone, an expense added to the $2.5 million for the renovation approved by voters in 2000.
To prevent future problems, or make it easier to prosecute suspects, Dais said the school will post no skateboarding and rollerblading signs that clearly spell out the penalties for violation.
“It’s a shame the kids are not taking any pride in this themselves — after all it’s for them,” said Hicks, who asked that anyone with information about the misdemeanor offense call her directly at 387-5259.