Wade Grinde (left) and Rachel Udstuen (right) explain the issues of the current gym floor as a kindergarten class runs during their physical education class.
Wade Grinde (left) and Rachel Udstuen (right) explain the issues of the current gym floor as a kindergarten class runs during their physical education class.
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In 1954, an addition was added to Spring Grove Public School that included a gymnasium. The wood floor that was installed in that gymnasium is the same one that is used today.

"Appearance-wise, our floor is in excellent condition," said school superintendent Rachel Udstuen.

"Our head of maintenance past and present and their staff from Carlyn Doely to Dana Kjome to Brent Messner have done an excellent job of maintaining the surface of our gym floor; there is no water damage or any major issues with the surface. However, what lies below the surface is where the concern is."

The current wood floor is installed over a very thin metal channel on top of concrete. When athletes run, jump and land on the floor, their body absorbs 100 percent of the impact.

With the new technology in the construction of gymnasium floors, they are built so that there is a more "give" to the floor and the floor absorbs more of the impact, making it easier on the athletes' bodies. The newer floors absorb 40-60 percent whereas the current floor absorbs nothing.

"The gymnasium gets a lot of use from physical education classes, concerts, ceremonies to athletic events; a lot of positive things happen in the gym," remarked teacher and basketball coach Wade Grinde.

"From that much usage comes a great deal of wear and tear to the surface. Each year the floor needs to be refinished, and the finish isn't holding up the way it used to and thus creates a slippery, unsafe surface."

Discussions about replacing the gym floor are not new, but have been brought up often over the past 10 years.

What is making this project more feasible is due to a gift of $31,885 from the estate of Betty Bretz (formerly Bessie Quinnell) that was designated for extra-curricular activities.

"We are looking at this project, because we believe our floor is having a negative impact on our students," added Udstuen.

"We wanted to use this gifted money where it would have the greatest impact on the largest number of kids in our school and all grades - kindergarten through 12th - use the gym floor on a regular basis."

The school has already also received money from the Athletic Boosters as well as other community organizations for this project.

"Various community organizations have approached me and said that they want to help make this project happen. We appreciate their support," said Udstuen.

"We are not paying for this project with taxpayers' money; we are continuing to search out grant options and these various community groups have offered to do fund-raising to help pay for this project."

The estimated project cost is about $110,000. The new floor itself will cost about $50-60,000 and the removal of the old floor will cost about $50,000.

Beneath the surface of the old floor is the mastic or adhesive, which contains asbestos. This does not cause a threat as it is, but once the floor is removed this mastic will also need to be removed.

"Technology has changed a lot in the last 60 years and not just electronically, but also in building technology," remarked athletic director Shelly Anderson.

"The gym is used more than it used to be as athletics have become year-round activities. We have been focusing on nutrition and strength training with our athletes to help prevent injuries and improving the gym surface will also make a big difference with this as well."

No firm timeline has been designated for this project yet. Watch for details from community groups regarding future fund-raising events.

Questions regarding the gym floor project and donations can be directed to Udstuen at (507) 498-3221 or email rachel.udstuen@springgrove.k12.mn.