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Norwood-Norfolk graduate receives permission to open school gym for basketball games

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NORFOLK - A Norwood-Norfolk Central School graduate has received permission to open the school’s gymnasium for basketball games, but not everybody will be able to participate right now.

Josh Eng, who now attends St. Lawrence University, had approached board of education members earlier this month about volunteering to open the gymnasium for pick-up basketball games when district coaches weren’t available. He received approval from the board during this week’s meeting.

“It will be for basketball,” Superintendent James M. Cruikshank said.

But, he noted, the games will be restricted right now to students currently attending Norwood-Norfolk Central School because of liability concerns. The school’s insurance carrier will cover Norwood-Norfolk Central School students, but any others who came to play, such as recent high school graduates, would have needed to provide their own liability insurance in order to use the facility, Mr. Cruikshank said.

Limiting it to high school students would be “approved and acceptable by our insurance company,” he said.

Mr. Eng would be covered as long as he was certified by the state and approved by the district’s board of education. Mr. Eng, a member of the Potsdam Rescue Squad and head lifeguard at the Norwood Beach, told board members he already has his required certification and just needed to their approval to start.

Mr. Cruikshank said they hope to be able to offer use of the gymnasium to others outside the school in the future.

“We’re looking for ways to be able to allow graduates and community members to come in and compete,” he said.

Community members already use the school’s fitness center and walk the halls of the building, he said, but they are supervised by a person with the required training.

“An organized competitive activity like basketball is a situation each district deals with. We’re trying to figure out the best way to do it while reducing our risk. We’re working through it. I’m sure we’ll find something,” Mr. Cruikshank said.

Mr. Cruikshank had been approached by Mr. Eng about offering his volunteer services. He said basketball coaches usually open the gym for games, but they’re not always available.

“They find it hard to schedule, especially in the summer. We don’t really have anyone else. Josh was interested in getting involved,” he told board members during their July 1 meeting.

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