Courtesy of Robert Smith with The Leaf Chronicle Completion date expected after students arrive
CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — Progress is moving forward slowly on the Dunn Center’s new floor renovation, which likely won’t be complete until after students arrive in late August.
Austin Peay’s Director of Facilities, Planning and Projects Al Westerman said the wood from Connor Sports Floor has been sitting in stacks for the past two weeks as workers apply structural reinforcement to put in new conduit under the floor for the arena’s electronics. Those adjustments, as well as an extra check by the structural engineer, have made it impossible for Sports Floors Inc. to complete the project by the end of July as athletic director Dave Loos had hoped for less than a month ago.
Westerman expects the wood installation to begin early next week, and the plan is to have it all laid in time for the university’s summer graduation Aug. 10. Workers would cover the unfinished wood for the ceremonies and Westerman said it likely wouldn’t be available for volleyball or basketball practices until after freshman convocation Aug. 27.
“They’d hope to practice in the big gym,” he said. “But as they’ve done in years past, they’ll probably practice in the Red Barn or the Foy Center.”
The project, which will cost APSU less than $300,000, is the first complete floor replacement in the history of the 37-year-old basketball arena that is also home to the Lady Govs’ volleyball team. Westerman said the old wood had suffered serious water damage because of multiple leaks from the drainage system on the roof and a longstanding leak from an old ice machine.
The PermaFlex flooring system will feature a rubber shock absorber that not only reduces the impact for athletes, but also wouldn’t absorb water from any new leaks. The new system that requires workers to rip out everything all the way to the dirt will also include a metal track underneath the wood for structural support.
Another new feature will be the modern smoke evacuation system, which Westerman said will be much more effective in case of a fire than the old sprinkler system. Workers have cut large openings in the wall where the smoke would be able to escape.
“If you were to have a fire in that gym, it pulls all the smoke out of the gym so people can get out of there without serious injury caused by smoke inhalation,” Westerman said.
When the project that began shortly after spring graduation is finally complete, Dave Loos Court will look virtually the same with its old red and white design. Though the completion date has been pushed back, Westerman is confident the court will be ready in plenty of time for the volleyball team’s first home match Sept. 21 against Jacksonville State.