Board votes to replace gym floor

On April 20, the Superior school board voted to move ahead with the plan to replace the high school gym floor. The board approved a bid from Northwoods Environmental Industries Inc., for $44,200 for asbestos removal and a $123,150 bid from Stalke...

4-29 Gym Floor
Superior's Kara Hoff (5) sets a ball during a volleyball game in the high school gymnasium last season. Construction is slated to begin June 8th for a new floor in the gymnasium. (Jed Carlson/

On April 20, the Superior school board voted to move ahead with the plan to replace the high school gym floor.

The board approved a bid from Northwoods Environmental Industries Inc., for $44,200 for asbestos removal and a $123,150 bid from Stalker Flooring Inc., to replace the gym floor. Asbestos was found in the adhesive between the floorboards and the cork underneath.

The total cost for the project is now set at $232,560, up from the original estimate of $228,285. The slightly higher cost results from the added expense of moving the bleachers for the asbestos removal. Business manager Jack Amadio said the bid from Northwoods Environmental Industries Inc., was actually substantially lower than predicted, but the cost for moving the bleachers made up the difference.

June 8 is tentatively scheduled as the day workers will seal off the gym for asbestos removal. The removal should take about two weeks, and Stalker Flooring will begin installing the new floor shortly afterward.

"All SHS open gyms and camps that require a gym will be displaced from SHS this summer, and we will work out a schedule at other schools to make sure our coaches can have their camps and our students can have the opportunities this summer to improve their skills, just like every other summer," said activities director Ray Kosey.


Some board members felt it was unrealistic to expect the floor to be finished by August 17 -- the start of the volleyball season -- but Kosey said that is still the plan. If the gym is not ready for use, he said Superior Middle School has offered its gym for practices and even hosting matches until the floor is finished.

Kosey has been the activities director at Superior High School for four years and is happy to see the gym floor finally getting the attention it needs.

"My first year I was made very aware of our old gym floor and the poor condition of it," Kosey said.

The high school floor is the original that was installed with the gym in 1965. It has been sanded and refinished many times, and the floorboards are now too thin to undergo another sanding. The cork beneath the floor, meant to provide cushioning, is so compressed running in the gym feels similar to running on concrete.

In January, Kosey made his annual report as activities director to the school board. He had mentioned the need for a new gym floor in his report the year before, but this time he was adamant.

"Our volleyball officials have to stand on a official's stand that has shims under it to help keep it level," Kosey said. "We are also noticing many more shin and knee problems with our athletes, and visiting coaches have even expressed concerns about how our floor has 'waves' in it from being uneven."

The school board responded to the call for a new floor, and a committee formed to begin looking at options. Gary Niemi, director of buildings and grounds, said the group quickly determine an overlay of the existing floor would not be satisfactory.

"To get an acceptable shock absorption factor to keep high school athletes from injuring themselves we would have to build a floor similar to the planned new floor over the existing floor," Niemi said. "This would increase the floor height so much that the gym entries would no longer comply with accessibility requirements. Additionally, the existing bleachers would have to be modified to remove the top row of seating to accommodate the additional height."


With all of the modifications required, an overlay floor was too costly. Niemi also said such a floor also would not eliminate the problem of "waves" in the surface, as they would be reflected upward in the new floor.

Even with the added expense of asbestos abatement work, the removal and replacement of the gym floor was the best option.

"I would say the school district got its money's worth from (the current) floor with the 44 years of use," Kosey said. "Hopefully, we care for this new floor so we can get 44 years from this one."

Board reorganization

At Monday's Superior school board reorganization meeting, Bonnie Baker, Len Albrecht and Josh Christie were sworn in as members. Albrecht and Baker were both re-elected to three-year terms in the April election, and Josh Christie is the new face on the board, filling the seat vacated by Richard Van Rossem.

The board voted unanimously to keep Albrecht as president of the school board, and Christina Kintop was chosen as vice president. Mary Klun was renamed as treasurer, and John Hendrick was chosen to fill the school clerk position.

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