It turned into a long and sometimes tedious process, but Gamlin Gymasium at Henry County High School now has a new basketball floor.

The Lady Patriots and Patriots are scheduled to have their first practices on the new surface Monday when the TSSAA allows high school teams to begin their fall practices. The first game is set for Nov. 17 when Obion County visits for Hall of Champion games with the HCHS teams.

Fans will see that the floor is still a parquet style much like the famed Boston Garden in Boston. The squares that make up each part of the parquet are much larger than the previous floor at Gamlin Gymnasium and the wood is a lighter color.

There is less of the heavy red painting on the edge with new sleeker HC designs on the court exhibiting the school’s red, white and blue colors. There is no paint in the free throw lane now.

Along with the new floor, the gymnasium has a new sound system with speakers mounted around the scoreboard hovering over center court. Air conditioning has been installed and more room was created for the player’s benches by removing a row of seating behind the scorer’s table. New bulbs were put into the light fixtures.

“We are pretty excited about this project coming to an end and our kids getting a chance to get on the floor for practice on Monday,” Patriot head coach Mike Greer said Thursday.

Greer said the project ran into difficulties and there were many delays, but everything has worked out to provide HCHS with a startling new playing surface.

“Everyone has an opinion on what design would have looked good and I like the graphics, too, but what I’m really excited about is the floor and shock absorption we have now. Our kids are going to be able to tell a big difference in practice and in games,” said Greer.

He explained that the original parquet was set on top of a concrete base. He said the school system’s maintenance supervisor John Akers fought hard to ensure the new floor had the top of the line and most recent base installed to help protect the Lady Patriots, Patriots and opposing players.

“John Akers really deserves a lot of credit with working through all the details and finding solutions when things went wrong to make sure we had this floor ready for the season,” Greer said.

With the project running long, the HCHS teams had to share the auxiliary gym for a time and when they needed to work more at the same time, the administrations at HCHS and Grove School worked out a plan to get the Lady Patriots and Patriots access to the gymnasium at Grove.

“We are accustomed to having the ball in our hands a lot in the preseason and it has been a little lighter this year,” said Lady Patriot head coach Cliff Curd. “Our time has been cut some, but with using the auxiliary gym and the gym at Grove, the girls have been able to get in enough work that I don’t think it is going to set us back at all.”

Greer said both the Lady Patriots and Patriots had done a good job of not allowing the work on the floor distract them this fall.

“You couldn’t have found any group of girls or boys that could have done a better job than our players have done in handling this situation any better,” said Greer.

He said both teams had a home now that they could be proud of and the community will enjoy watching games at Gamlin Gymnasium.

“We are just excited to be able to get in there, start to work and get ready to win some games,” said Greer.

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