By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
More than $400,000 in renovations to the Del Norte High School gymnasium is set for completion after years of planning and being nearly a month delayed.
Work on the gym began shortly after school let out in June and is expected to be open to students and the school volleyball team on Monday, said Del Norte Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Rodney Jahn.
Work was supposed to be completed the first week of September, but a number of unforeseen delays involving the school gym floor delayed the opening.
The delays have caused practices of the girls varsity volleyball team to be held in the small gym at the school and at the Foursquare Church gym. Also, two home games had to be played in the small gym.
The estimated $425,000 project replaced the gym floor, which has been in use since 1957, and completely replaced the wooden bleachers, with more updated seating facilities that includes access that meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and rails for people to hold onto. Part of the gym was also repainted.
Jahn said each year, the district spent roughly $4,000 to $5,000 to maintain the old bleachers.
Funds for the project came from a state modernization funding grant and the rest from district forest reserve funds.
While it has taken awhile to get to this point, Jahn said he is happy with the final results.
"I'm very pleased with it," he said. "It looks good and the new bleachers will be a big improvement for the fans."
Jahn said the original floor was a hardwood floor on top of cork and concrete, with the new floor modernized and updated to provide more support to those running on the gym floor.
The first delay occurred around two months ago when the contractor, Ausland Construction, conducted tests which indicated that the level of moisture vapor in the gym floor was higher than allowed without adding an additional sealing system and a thicker poly vapor barrier, which would substantially add to the cost, Jahn said in a recent written update on the project.
It was decided that they would leave the existing adhesive in place, add additional sealer to the areas exposed during the leveling and floor removal process, and to use a thicker vapor barrier between the concrete and the wood flooring.
The additional cost was about $15,000 and the additional work was about two weeks in length, Jahn said.
He said after the sealer layer was dry, the installation of the two-part flooring system went smoothly and was finished a little under the time originally expected.
The new flooring system consists of two overlapping layers of plywood on top of a set of neoprene runners that provide the cushion and "flex" to the floor, the update read.
After the floor was sanded, two layers of sealer was applied, followed by the court striping and by another coat of sealer.
But there was a bad tub of finish among the batch that was applied to the floor and it was not able to be smoothed out properly, Jahn said in his report.
There was a major problem area¬Ėa 4 to 6-foot wide strip, which ran from the north wall to the south wall, as well as several smaller areas.
On Sept. 8, work began to repair the impacted areas, but they were still too wet to be worked on. It was decided that the affected area had to have more work done to help these problem spots be at the same level as the rest of the floor. This process was recently completed.
The final drying and curing of the floor is occurring now and is expected to be completed by Monday.
Jahn said delays like this can occur when working on an older floor.
He said everyone on the project, from the architect to the contractor and subcontractors have been working hard to get everything completed and have worked a number of weekends to get things done.
Members of the district maintenance, grounds and custodial crews also worked one weekend to get the extra sealer applied to the concrete.
Meagan Curtis, head coach of the girls varsity volleyball team, said while it has been "a challenge" waiting for the gym to be finished, she and her players are excited to finally have the chance to use the main gym again.
The team is scheduled to play in the new gym for the first time on Oct. 9 against Fortuna.
"They have been waiting for it for along time," Curtis said, adding the team is looking forward to practicing on the new floor and getting used to it before playing.