Cleveland High's "Raider Dome" closed because of safety concerns - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Cleveland High's "Raider Dome" closed because of safety concerns

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Photo Courtesy: Cleveland High School/Twitter: @CHSRowdyRaiders Photo Courtesy: Cleveland High School/Twitter: @CHSRowdyRaiders

CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) - One of the storied local venues for high school sports has been indefinitely closed for safety concerns.

Cleveland officials announced Monday night that structural problems have forced the high school to abandon the "Raider Dome" for the foreseeable future. Classes scheduled for the gymnasium have been relocated, and all Cleveland High basketball home games will be moved to Cleveland Middle School. 

"There were some structural issues in the upper portion of the brick," Martin Ringstaff, superintendent of Cleveland City Schools, said in an email. "The dome was built with no metal reinforcements back in 1965. Some recent buckling forced us to hire an architect firm to do an in-depth analysis on the building."

The study revealed the need to evacuate the gym if wind gusts reached 30mph or when two or more inches of precipitation were expected.

School officials instead took the cautious approach to close the facility permanently until a solution can be found. 

"We were uncomfortable with it, so the board of education and I made the decision to close it now and wait for the final analysis from the architects," Ringstaff said.

The Raider Dome, which is nearly 50 years old, offered one of the best home-court advantages in the Chattanooga area when filled to capacity.

Cleveland boys' basketball has won nine district championships and four region titles, as well as one state championship (1997). The venue was also home to Blue Raiders' wrestling, which has won four traditional state championships and four more state duals titles.

Ringstaff said there are no plans to tear down the structure and rebuild at this point, though it could become a possibility. Architects will continue analyzing the facility to determine the best solution.

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