Historic Clay City H.S. gym floor being replaced
By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY — Clay County High School athletic fans will have a variety of new surfaces to appreciate during the 2019-20 sports seasons.
Much has been made of the new artificial turf football field that is taking shape for the Northview Knights this fall. However, Clay City High School is undergoing some work of its own this summer.
Currently the school is in the process of replacing the high school gymnasium’s historic basketball floor. While it has undergone a variety of resurfacing over time, the floor itself dates back to when the gym was built all the way back in 1956.
“It has been discussed for several years. They were looking at all the details of how the shape of the old floor and what issues there were with it and how much life there was left in the old floor,” Clay City Assistant Athletic Director Rodney Smith said. “And then looking at where we were at in position to put (the floor) on now was what it really boiled down to.”
The decision to replace the floor has been debated amongst the Clay County School Board for some time as each high school appropriated funds for secondary gymnasiums that have since been opened for regular use with great success.
“It has been discussed through the school board for about a year now. Then they went through the bid process and things, Smith said. “So it has been a year now on the hot bed of getting it done as far as the board was concerned about trying to put it in.”
At this point, the old gymnasium floor has been removed and set aside as a sub-contracting group from Michigan has nearly finished the process of taking up the old tar paper under the hard wood. The most tedious part has been removing hundreds if not thousands of nails from the surface under the old floor.
“They came in and started on Tuesday of last week on what you call the demolition aspect of the floor. They should be finished by (June 5). They work four days a week,” Smith said of the group from Michigan. “So you are looking at eight days of demolition. The (new) wood was brought in Thursday of last week and it takes about four or five days to acclimate it to the gym so we have to keep it fairly cool in here. That helps it so when they put the floor so that it is shrunk down and then expand and increase in size when they staple it down and fits in after that fact if we increase the temperature at that point.”
The new surface will be installed by Four Star Floor Care based in Lapel, Ind., a family owned business that began in 1994. They specialize in hardwood installation and refinishing sports and residential floors. Refinishing gym floors has become a prominent part of Four Star projects.
“They say that the installation should be a week to 10 days. Then you have another group of sub-contractors that will sand it, then sand it again. If it is similar to what they did with the new floor in the new gym, then you are looking at four sandings," Smith noted. "They start real fine and then take it down.”
Special care was also taken to preserve the center court area that included the Eel logo."
“We are also in discussions right now with the company that is installing it with getting the graphics down on it. So after it is sanded, then they will come in with the determination on the design that we decided on. It was a group decision on that,” Smith pointed out. “Once that is determined they can seal it and paint it. They talk like that part will take probably two weeks. So in total we are probably looking at the end of July, which will bring us right to around when school starts.”
It is expected that there will be plenty of interest amongst the public to have their own keepsake of the old flooring. Clay City basketball teams won a total of 13 sectional championships (10 boys and three girls titles) while competing on the historic hardwood. Boys teams also won three regional titles during the span of the floor. The titles began with the fantastic run of sectional wins by the boys’ teams from the 1971-1976 seasons.
Sections of the flooring will be available for purchase and order forms are available online at the school website as well as in the office.
“We have an order form online and we also have them in the offices here at Clay City High School. Anyone can come in and fill out an order form. We will go through the process, we have a plate that will go on the purchase. We also do special requests on sizes," Smith said. "That is available online through the school website or they can pick up a form at the office. They range in prices depending on size and some pieces have purple on them, some have white on them and some are just plain.”