KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Kingsport City Schools released updated information on the condition of Dobyns-Bennett’s Buck Van Huss Dome, which was closed last month over structural concerns.

On Friday, the school system shared a “Phase 1” report from consultant Dome Technologies and Thompson & Litton Engineering. The report confirmed the data provided during the initial structural testing of the dome and contained other observations and recommendations.

‘Phase I’ Report’s Observations and Recommendations:

  • There are no alarming negative structural deflections, large cracks or settlements, and/or obvious defects in the dome structure.
  • There exist several typical cracks in the dome wood members that would normally be found in a structure of such type given the age and means/methods of building as existed when the dome was built.
  • There are no obvious signs of distress in any of the structural connections of the wood members in the dome.
  • There is a loss of structural capacity of the wood members above and including compression rings 4 and 5. This was noted through observation and testing by Dome Technology.
  • It is recommended that the dome be shored above and including compression rings 4 and 5. There is no reason to change the current recommendation that occupancy of the ancillary spaces near the gymnasium (pool, auxiliary gymnasium, classrooms) may occur while the shoring takes place.
  • It is recommended that the shoring fit snugly and be inspected with the consultation of local engineering experts.
  • It is recommended that given the identified issues of structural capacity and the age/appearance of the structure, a retrofit or replacement of the dome be implemented.
  • It is recommended that with shoring in place, there is no reason to restrict ancillary spaces around the dome from occupancy.
  • It is recommended that further analysis of the dome structure take place, providing additional data to be used in the design of a structural retrofit, if that option is considered.

The school system says it will pursue the recommended additional analysis to determine the appropriate option for addressing the structural concerns. The additional analysis is expected to take 6–8 weeks.

City and school leaders approved a bid Friday to renovate the gymnasium at the former Sullivan North Middle School, which will be used by Dobyns-Bennett’s basketball teams while the Buck Van Huss Dome remains closed.