The Fillmore Central high school gym floor has been completed, allowing their girls’ basketball team to play their Jan. 2 game in Harmony.
The Fillmore Central high school gym floor has been completed, allowing their girls’ basketball team to play their Jan. 2 game in Harmony.
A step into the main gymnasium at Fillmore Central High School nowadays instantly alerts a person to the major change that took place there. One might ask themselves, "Did they get new lighting?" only to realize that the increased brightness in the room is a direct result of the new Connor Sports Flooring "Focus Fixed Resilient" floor.

The original floor had been a focus of concern for several years before its eventual replacement. Since the "new" gymnasium, built in the 1960s, wasn't climate controlled, hot and humid summers would cause the floor surface to heave. With the help of dehumidifiers and fans, the floor would dry out and return to normal in time for most of the volleyball season. This past summer was different. A string of 100-degree and high humidity days in late August combined with an accidental water spill sealed the fate of the floor.

The school district has four gyms between the Preston and Harmony sites. Athletic Director Chris Mensink explained that it was simple enough to move the volleyball team to Preston though it required traveling to practice every day after school.

Once basketball practices got started, there were some inconveniences experienced as teams were down one gym for practices.

Mensink noted the district was lucky to have four gyms to share since most schools in the area only have one or two. Some teams were required to either meet early before school or have practice in the early evening.

Throughout the fall, the district waited to hear back from its insurance company as to whether it would be able to purchase a new floor or be forced to go with a more economical patching job.

Only two weeks before the girls' basketball season was to start, the district got the word it would be able to purchase a new floor. However, insurance stipulated the new floor would need to be completed within 180 days. By the end of November, the old floor had been ripped out and Athletic Performance Solutions began installing the new floor.

The district selected the "Focus" system for its being anchored to the floor and good flexibility to protect the athletes, physical education students and teachers.

The floor also has an air space beneath the one-and-three-quarters inch layers of plywood sub-flooring and maple surface flooring. This would enable the district, in the future, to install a ventilation system that would prevent the same problems from happening again.

The school has already made an investment in a large dehumidifier with a fixed drain running to an adjacent equipment room. The floor has a life expectancy of about 50 years and will receive a sanding every decade.

In addition to those improved features, the floor also sports greater school spirit. The basketball court area is well defined with black striping. Center court features a large, painted Falcon logo while the phrase "Home of the Falcons" is displayed on the court along the bleacher sideline.

Another difference to this court's aesthetics is the distinguishable three-second areas or the "paint." These areas received a darker flooring stain than the rest of the court.

Mensink said members of the district had visited Spring Grove High School for floor design ideas.

The floor cost $75,225 for the district with additional costs for asbestos abatement and removal of the old floor. The project lasted five weeks and the Fillmore Central girls' basketball team had its first home game of the new year on Jan. 2 back in Harmony.

The new floor has received many positive public comments, Mensink said.

"The players, coaches and teachers love it," he concluded.