Published October 14, 2022
Workers from 4-State Maintenance Supply, of Coffeyville, Kan., remove damaged hardwood from the floor of the old Dodge City Community College (DC3) gym on Sept. 28. [Photo by Lance Ziesch]
The old gym at Dodge City Community College (DC3) is getting a facelift.
The structure, which was built in 1970, had been closed for several years prior to its reopening in 2021. And during this closure, an undetected water leak wreaked havoc on the west side of the court.
“When you have chains on the doors, and nobody goes into a room at all for basically three to four years, you’ve got a situation where it’s just not monitored,” Jacob Ripple, DC3 Athletic Director, said. “So, this water on the floor, whether it came from AC ducting, or if there was a leak or whatever, it doesn’t really matter. When water settles into a wooden floor, it just ruins it. And we had all kinds of warping.”
After much discussion, the college decided to try and save the 52-year-old hard maple floor, instead of replacing it.
“The floor being as old as it was, it presented quite a challenge,” Jared Stevens, DC3 Director of Facilities and Operations, said. “They just don’t make gym floors that thick anymore. It’s almost three-quarters of an inch to be exact. We were able to locate one lumber mill in the country that had enough wood milled out of maple, to that exact thickness, to get the job done.”
Because DC3 has been working with 4-State Maintenance Supply, of Coffeyville, Kan., for many years, and has a great ongoing relationship with that company, 4-State was chosen for the project, Stevens said.
“They are one of the most respected and trusted companies that do this type of work in the state,” he said. “So, it was a no-brainer.”
After the damaged hardwood was replaced, the entire gym floor was sanded and refinished. Above, a 4-State employee pauses during the sanding process on Oct. 4. [Photo by Lakin Scheck]
After first replacing a large section of water-damaged maple flooring on the gym’s southwest corner, 4-State then sanded and refinished the entire floor, Stevens said.
“Working with Mammoth Sports Construction to get the structural engineer in here to clear the building was the big first step,” Ripple said. “And then, everybody who has worked on it since has done a great job. From 4-State, to our own maintenance crew, it looks amazing. Honestly, I’m amazed at how it looks.”
Although there is a slight color difference between the original floor and the replacement pieces, Ripple said that variance won’t change the functionality of the gym.
“You have a floor that’s been down for 50 years, and no matter how much it’s sanded, you’re going to have some of the coloring from that old oil-based finish that has seeped into it,” he said. “So, you can see the difference in the old and new flooring in the gym. But with an auxiliary gym, it’s more about the usage of it. I don’t think you’d want that for a game gym, but it functions just like a normal gym floor.”
The floor repair project, which ran from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7, cost a total of $48,130.55 and was paid for with funds from the college’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).
Now that the hardwood is repaired, Stevens said the college’s Maintenance Department will finish the remainder of the gym renovation.
“We are currently putting some new coats of paint on the walls, doors, and anywhere else that needs it,” Stevens said. “A classy purple-and-gold-style carpet also will be installed on the east and west ends of the gym in the coming weeks.”
In addition, he said the sheet metal that had been removed from the gym’s walls, when the college was checking the soundness of the structure, will be going back up.
“I’m also in the beginning stages of getting a gym divider curtain installed, which will allow us to have multiple sports practices at the same time when the curtain is lowered,” he said.
“This will be the permanent practice area for the cheer squad, along with being used as an auxiliary practice gym for basketball and volleyball,” Stevens said. “And eventually, it also will be used for open gym nights and intramural sports for the entire student body.”
Although the overall gym renovation continues, the flooring project is now complete in the Dodge City Community College (DC3) old gym. [Photo by Lance Ziesch]
Ripple said he is excited about the opportunity of having a secondary gym, which he said will be used every day by student-athletes and the student body as a whole. And he said he also has a couple of ideas for additional improvements down the road.
“I just can’t thank our administration enough for believing in this project to get it done,” Ripple said. “It’s going to be a great resource for our athletics as well as our student body. I laughed the other day when somebody asked me, ‘When’s the last time you’ve had two functional gyms on campus?’ My answer was, ‘We never have.’ So, it’s a whole new world for us at this point.”
By Lance ZieschDC3 Assistant Director of Marketing and Community Relations