Archive for Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Piece by piece, THS gym floor removed

March 22, 2006

It has weathered years of basketball games, volleyball matches and wrestling duals, along with physical education classes.

Friday, though, marked the final day the Tonganoxie High School gymnasium floor held together in one 40-foot-by-82 1/2-foot piece.

Workers from Pinnacle Flooring and Hardwoods in Manhattan sawed through the maple floor.

Underneath was a cement underfloor with metal rings scattered haphazardly throughout. Elevated above the cement were wooden runners with occasional rubber pieces fitted to the actual hardwood floor.

Bob Koontz, maintenance director at the school, said he thought the floor was installed when the high school was built in 1966. He reasoned that the floor was an original because the wood would have been packaged in those metal rings and likely would have been tossed on the cement floor beneath as the flooring was installed.

Whether it actually was the original, Koontz was unsure.

Regardless, the floor had plenty of wear. It was renovated in July 2003 as the floor was refurbished and repainted.

At that time, a Chieftain logo was painted at center court and two "Tonganoxie Chieftains" logos along the baselines.

Those were cut out Friday. THS athletics director Brandon Parker said school officials originally discussed putting the Chieftain logo on the wall in the new entrance to the high school, which currently is being built to the northwest of the gymnasium.

But Parker said that section would be too tall for any wall in the entranceway.

He said Monday the Chieftain logo had been sold to a Tonganoxie resident. But Parker said he didn't want to release the name of the buyer until classes resumed Monday. Students and teachers are not in school this week because of spring break. Parker also declined to say how much money was paid for the floor piece.

"They took it out because we had nowhere to put it," Parker said.

Gail Drake, clerk for the school board, said Tuesday she hadn't received any payments for the floor piece. Supt. Richard Erickson was on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

As for the other two floor pieces, Parker said it's still unknown where those will be placed. One, he said, possibly could be placed near where the new boys and girls locker rooms will be built, to the west of the existing gymnasium.

Eric Armstrong with Pinnacle Flooring and Hardwoods of Manhattan cut out the floor pieces.

He said Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita was doing a similar project with their old floor -- cutting out pieces of the floor to keep as mementos.

Crews with Turner Construction closed down the gymnasium to the public on Monday. The company is constructing a new middle school on Washington Street and additions to the high school and elementary schools. In Nov. 2004, local voters passed a $25.3 million bond issue, which will fund the construction. Turner already has constructed a new wall that extends to the north side of the gymnasium. Bleachers will be built in the upper-deck of the new addition, which will allow for seating around the entire upper deck. Currently, a catwalk along the north wall connects the upper-deck seating on the east and west sides of the gymnasium.

When the expansion is complete, air ducts currently suspended from the ceiling will be removed. The renovated gymnasium also will have air-conditioning and new ceiling lights. The ceiling will be painted and lower wooden bleachers will be replaced, Parker said. And, the basketball court will be extended about a foot and a half to the north.

As for the gymnasium floor, a new surface will be installed by Acme Floor Co. of Shawnee Mission. Acme also installed the basketball floor in Allen Fieldhouse on the Kansas University campus.

Parker said the floor would have rubber and plywood layers underneath the floor, which again will be maple.

So for now, the gymnasium is off limits until the fall, when it is hoped that the court will be ready for the 2006-07 season.

"By getting them in there at this time as opposed to May it helps us a lot and builds in insurance time in case something goes wrong," Parker said.

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