PREP SPORTS: Fort White set to renovate gym floor
FORT WHITE — It took 18 years but Fort White is finally getting a new gym floor.
Construction on the new court is set to begin soon and will hopefully be ready for the volleyball team’s home opener on Sept. 6 against Eastside. This is the first time the school has changed the floor since the it opened in 2000.
Fort White principal Keith Couey says the Columbia County school board will foot the bill for the court, which will cost more than $100,000.
“It’s just time. It’s only good for 10-12 years and it’s been 18 years. It’s all about traction so we’re going to get a new floor,” Couey said.
Construction on the new floor was supposed to begin in June once school let out but multiple delays have pushed back the start date. But Fort White High School’s twitter account tweeted out two pictures of the old gym floor on Sunday to let people know the renovation was ready to begin with a caption that read: “Here is one final look at the old gym floor. The gym is about to undergo a major floor renovation project! This floor has served countless volleyball and basketball games and other school events for the past 18 years! We cannot wait to show you the new look! Stay tuned……..”
“They did bring in a dumpster today, which is a sign that they’re going to get started,” Fort White athletic director John Wilson said. “They were supposed to start the Monday after we got out of school in June and they had delays after delays. Now they feel like they can get it started soon.”
The school wanted to put down a wooden floor like Columbia High School’s but decided against it, citing the lack of an auditorium. The gym also acts as the school’s auditorium and Fort White didn’t want events held there to mess up the wood.
Instead, the school will use the company Mondo to install a court similar to the old one.
“They always teased me with saying, ‘it took Columbia 25 years before they put a wooden floor in so you have 25 years before you can put your wooden floor in,’ ” Wilson said. “They would tease me about that but they would basically say, ‘when this wears out, we’ll look into getting you a new floor.’ And they really wanted to put a wooden floor in but it’s just not going to help us having a wooden floor and not use it for other things so that’s why they’re using Mondo.”
“Mr. Couey talked to (Columbia County’s Director of Maintenance) Fred Gaylard and said let’s just go ahead and use the same material but make it look like it’s a wooden floor.”
Prior to hiring new volleyball coach Deanna Conner in June, Wilson was in charge of putting together the team’s schedule. He purposely scheduled the Lady Indians’ first five matches on the road to give time for the court renovation to be completed.
But due to delays, the new court may need more time. Wilson says the school will play at alternate sites if the court isn’t done in time for the home opener.