By Lisa Scagliotti,
The Waterbury Roundabout
Work to rebuild the gymnasium floor at Harwood Union High School continues with added steps needed that now put the target completion date at the end of January, according to school officials.
Superintendent Mike Leichliter shared a recent update from Director of Facilities and Operations Ray Daigle who said that work is progressing on the project to replace the floor with new steps being taken to protect against moisture.
Daigle said the schedule has been revised somewhat because it was necessary to install a waterproofing membrane system before the new wood flooring could be put in place. Testing done on the concrete slab that is under the floor showed high levels of moisture that made this step necessary, Daigle said.
The $209,000 project estimate from contractor Danaher Floor Restoration Inc. in Clarendon, Vermont, included detail on pricing for moisture mitigation materials and installation if deemed necessary. The additional step will add $36,300 to the project cost and the district has confirmed that the added expense will be covered by insurance, school officials said.
The new schedule called for installing the waterproofing materials first, followed by wood flooring installation which is expected to take approximately three weeks. The goal, Daigle said, is to have that part complete by the end of December.
Once the floor is completed, new bleachers will be installed – a project originally scheduled for this school year before the water incident that flooded the gym in late September. Final finish to the floor surface will take about another three weeks. That puts the completion target at the end of January, absent any unforeseen delays, Daigle said.
The project came about after a fluke accident during a physical education class in late September where a ball hit and broke a ceiling fire sprinkler. The ensuing leak flooded the floor with over 1,000 gallons of water from the sprinkler system, damaging the hardwood surface and seeping under the more than 50-year-old floor.
Insurance is covering the cost of the replacement which comes at the inopportune time in the school year as the winter sports season begins with girls’ and boys’ basketball teams in need of the gymnasium for practices and games.
Athletic Director Chris Langevin said that the varsity teams are practicing at Green Mountain Valley School in Waitsfield. “A huge thanks to them for opening their doors to us!” he said.
In addition, JV high school teams are practicing at Crossett Brook Middle School as are the 7th and 8th grade teams.
High school games have been juggled to be at away sites until the floor is finished, Langevin said. “I was able to work with other athletic directors to flip the home and away hosting duties with the teams we play twice in the season and [we] hope to welcome people back in the gym in the second half of the season.”
The online schedule has the most up to date information for game dates, times and locations. Scrimmages have begun and the season’s first games on the calendar begin next week.
Meanwhile school principals say physical education classes during this time are taking place outdoors as much as possible and also can use the school’s smaller upstairs gym.