TUPPER LAKE - The pro shop floor at the Tupper Lake Golf Course was wet when Clarence Bell arrived on March 28.
One hour later, the club's director of golf was walking through water 6 inches deep as it rushed into the building. Heavy rain and snowmelt had penetrated the back corner of the pro shop, where the women's locker room was.
"There was just no stopping it," Bell said. "I've only been here a couple of years, and it hasn't happened since I've been here."
Tupper Lake Golf Course Director of Golf Clarence Bell explains how the lower portion of the walls inside the pro shop had to be removed following a recent flood.
(Enterprise photo — Shaun Kittle)
The town of Tupper Lake owns the golf course, and at last week's town board meeting, Councilman Mike Dechene told the board about the damage. He said Bell called him at 6 p.m. the night it happened.
Dechene brought his own excavator to the golf course the next day and dug a trench in the snow and ice to help the water drain. The effort kept more water from entering the building, but Dechene said, "The damage had already been done."
The water ruined the inside of the building. Now there are bare walls where lockers once stood. Moist insulation and drywall litter the floor, and a heavy, damp smell lingers in the air.
A newly installed laminate floor in the pro shop's office buckled from the moisture, and all of the carpeting in the facility, 1,000 square feet of it, was also ruined.
"Snowmelt and water came off the hill, and because we had so much ice this year, it kind of created a dam," Bell said. "The water had nowhere to go."
The town hired Jim Meade Construction to repair the pro shop.
The carpeting has already been removed by Bell and will be replaced by carpet tiles, which have a grippy back and can be removed if need be.
Bell also removed the bottom 3 feet of wall paneling and insulation throughout the building and has cleaned and sprayed the exposed sections of wall with bleach to prevent mold.
"It's coming along nicely," Bell said. "We'll be starting to put it back together again this week."
Last week, the town board passed a resolution to allocate up to $18,000 for repairs to the pro shop. Councilman John Quinn noted that the town already had $8,000 in its budget for the golf course.
The building was insured through the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal, but the deductible for flood damage is $25,000, too high to help the pro shop. Michael Brown, an insurance adjuster for NYMIR, estimated that repairs would cost about $20,000.
"We didn't choose that deductible; that's the way the plan is written out for everybody," said town Supervisor Patti Littlefield. "It's an enhancement package."
Littlefield said two insurance contractors have estimated the cost of repairs at $9,000 for materials and 160 hours, or four weeks, of labor. At a rate of $45 per hour, labor is estimated to cost no more than $7,200.
"I think we can do the work in half that time, in about two weeks," Bell told the board. "It'll only take us a day to put the carpet in."
Bell said he estimates the repairs will cost about $12,000 and said he hopes to open the golf course sometime next week.
Littlefield said the insurance claim is open, so if the project ends up costing more than anticipated, the town can still file a claim.
"Have we figured out anything moving forward that we can do for snow maintenance up there so we don't have that problem again?" Councilman Rick Skiff asked. "I'd hate to see us have to put $10,000 into this building only to have Clarence show up next spring and find 6 inches of water again."
Dechene said he has spoken with village Department of Public Works Supervisor Mike Sparks, and there is talk of regrading the golf course to prevent future springtime flooding.